2021/22 Loan players

Loan players-

All right. I got asked to write an article about the prospects of the second team players making it into the first team. And so, of course, I bungled it and focused on the loan players before I remembered why I was writing the article in the first place. That’s what I get for writing late at night. Oh well. I’ll make a separate article about Bayern II players soon. For now, I’ll talk about (hopefully) all the players Bayern and Bayern II loaned out for the season of 2021/22, how their season went and what their future prospects at Bayern are. I've bolded the names of the loan players I'll be talking about above every paragraph, so it shouldn't be hard to find a specific player if you want to.

Adrian Fein

His is a frustrating story. Adrian Fein went on loan to Greuther Fürth in the Bundesliga for the 2021/22 season but that loan was a complete disaster. He only played around 30 minutes the entire time for the worst club in the 21/22 Bundesliga season. It was so bad that Bayern terminated his loan in January and loaned him back out the same month, this time to Dynamo Dresden in the 2nd Bundesliga. But Fein did not get a single minute the entire rest of the season, though a lot of that had to do with persistent injury problems. To add insult to injury, both Greuther Fürth and Dynamo Dresden got relegated this season. This truly was a terrible season for Fein. Now 23 and with 1 year left on his contract, Fein will likely depart Bayern this summer.

Lars Lukas Mai

This is the most unfortunate story of them all, in my opinion. Lukas Mai was one of the few successful loans for Bayern in the 2020/21 season, playing the majority of possible minutes for SV Darmstadt 98 last season. This past season, Mai was on loan at Werder Bremen in the 2nd Bundesliga. It seemed like a good move, as much as some BFW people might not have like it (*cough Marko cough*).

But with Werder Bremen being a step up sporting wise from Darmstadt and Darmstadt’s coach, Markus Anfang, moving to Werder Bremen, it looked like Mai could reunite with the coach that trusted him In the 20/21 season and continue to grow. Mai even benefitted from defensive injuries to get a more prominent role in the beginning of the season.

But Mai never really got going. His early performances were lackluster and earned the ire of Werder Bremen fans, but he still got relatively consistent playing time until October. From then on, though, he would only play in 6 more games, only completing the full 90 minutes once.

It certainly didn’t help that, in a bizarre turn of events, coach Anfang lied about his vaccination record and got fired from the job because of it. That has to be up there with the most stupid ways to get fired.

But the really tragic element here is how the death of Mai’s mother impacted him. I’d feel dirty talking about something so personal for Mai for too long, but Mai’s mother passed away at the 22nd of November, 2022. In a really emotional interview, Mai admitted just how much her death impacted him and his mental health. It’s safe to say that this probably had a large bearing on his professional performances, too, so it’s difficult to evaluate him based on these last years of performances.

Mai’s contract is up in 2023. It’s probably best for him to get a fresh start at another club.

Sarpreet Singh

Singh had one of the more successful loans for Bayern this past season. He went on loan to Jahn Regensburg in the 2nd Bundesliga and found immediate success, contributing 5 goals and 7 assists in a fantastic first half of the season that saw Regensburg, a midtable 2. Bundeslsiga side for about 4 years, top of the table for large portions of that first half of the season.

But the second d half of the season was far less successful, as injuries restricted him to just 7 games. In those 7 games, he contributed no goals and 1 assist. The loss of Ssingh’s form was massive for Regensburg as the club absolutely fell apart in the second half of the season, winning only 1 of 17 games and managing to finish 15th, just outside the relegation zone. Managing to go from 1st to 15th is impressively awful.

Ultimately, Singh’s stock went up a lot due to this season but, as is a reoccurring theme here, his contract is up in 2023. He is likely to be moved on this summer, as well.

Alex Timossi Andersson

I haven’t watched him play or followed his season at all, so I will keep this section short. He played 29 times in the Austrian Bundesliga, getting 5 goals and 7 assists. His contract is up in 2023 (as is the norm), so he will probably be sold this summer.

Nicolas Kühn

His contract is up in 2023, he is on loan at Erzebirge Aue, who have an option to buy. Sky is also reporting that Rapid Vienna will sign him soon. Next.

Chris Richards

Chris Richards continued this season where left off the last one. Getting consistent playing time on loan at Hoffenheim on the left side of a back three. Obviously, Chris Richards was loaned out to Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga this past season and he played quite consistently. This helped Richards establish himself as part of the US men’s national, too, getting his first few competitive caps. However, it was in a US match in January that he sustained a serious injury that saw him miss most of the back half of the season. And, within three games of his return, he picked up another injury that kept him out until the end of the season. Subsequently, Richards missed most of the second half of the season.

With his contract running until 2025 ( a welcome change to the norm), Richards and Bayern theoretically have time to decide Richards’ future. But, after two successful loan spells at a club that is nearing the top of the Bundesliga, another loan might feel like the club would just be spinning their wheels on Richards’ future. Is there any more to be gained from another Bundesliga loan? Add to that Bayern’s current question marks about the personnel in defense and it seems like this summer is the one to decide Richards’ permanent future at the club. Will he be part of the first team or will he go and get a fresh start at a new club?

Personal thoughts:

I won’t normally do this and leave my personal thoughts to small snippets throughout. But Richards is a special case and I wanted to air my thoughts a little.

I’m honestly a little disappointed by Richards’ loan spell. The hope was clearly that Richards would keep developing and honing his skills, but I didn’t really see much improvement throughout the season. Richards’ strengths remain the same to me. Richards is an excelled defender on the front foot, able to time his challenges well and win just about any aerial duel. Additionally, he has the speed and agility required to catch up to players that do get beyond him. And his ability on the ball is good, as he remains calm under pressure and can play some good passes. But, too often, his first touch has him moving backwards, while his passing is too safe and timid and invites pressure on to the backline. The ability to play line breaking passes is there but he rarely does so. Additionally, he still struggles when defending in the penalty area, losing his marker too often and generally failing to secure his general area.

His loan spell at Hoffenheim, as far as I can tell, did not do anything to help him improve. I don’t know if he is currently on the level Bayern would need him to be at if he were to be part of the first team. I suppose that is for Nagelsmann to decide when Richards returns for pre-season.

Alexander Nübel

Nübel was loaned out to Monaco in Ligue 1 this season. Nübel’s season started off very badly, making numerous clear errors and getting knocked out of the Champions League qualifiers to end up in the Europa League. His season picked up after that, though, and opinions have turned completely as Nübels’s strong form helped Monaco pick up steam and fight for a Champions League spot for next season. However, Monaco conceded a goal in the 96th minute on the last day of the season and, because of that, failed to finsh in 2nd place and instead finished 3rd. Second place means automatic Champions League qualification. Third place means needing to go through the Champions League qualifying phases again. Which, of course, Monaco failed to win last time. Playing Champions League football would be massive for Nübel’s development, so hopefully they still qualify.

Beyond that, Nübel has confirmed he will stay at Monaco for at least another year, as loan is only up in 2023.

Joshua Zirkzee

Zirkzee went out on loan to RSC Anderlecht in the Jupiler Pro League this past season, with the outcry of his bad miss in pre-season still ringing in his hears. However, Zirkzee has gone on to have a quite stellar campaign for Anderlecht, grabbing 15 goals and 8 assists in the Belgian top flight.

However, he didn’t play as a typical striker. In fact, he played slightly behind two other strikers in manager Vincent Kompany’s system. He was given a pretty free role, allowed to drift into numerous areas but also drop back and received the ball. I guess you could say he played as a No. 10, but he also interchanged positions with the other strikers and ended up in the penalty box a lot, so I think that wouldn’t be quite an accurate description of his role.

The season wasn’t exactly faultless, though. Anderlecht had title aspirations but those never came to fruition, finished 13 points off the top in the end. Zirkzee also only played 2088 of the available 3060 minutes, despite suffering no injuries. The reason for that was that Kompany would continually sub him off. Zirkzee only complete the full 90 minutes 5 times in 32 league games. On one hand, it makes his 15 goals and 8 assists look more impressive (that’s about 1 goal contribution every 90 minutes). On the other, it speaks to a possible disappointment in Zirkzee’s stamina and effort during the game. A worry only exacerbated by a leaked video early on in the season, showing Vincent Kompany yelling at the team after a bad loss. The only player singled out was Zirkzee as Kompany bemoaned his poor work rate and lack of effort. It’s important to note that this video was taken in the first few months of the season, but it’s not a great sign for Zirkzee.

His contract is up in 2023 and Zirkzee has said in an interview that there is no point in returning to Bayern if he cannot play. Given Lewandowski is very likely to leave Bayern this summer, he may find some playing time at Bayern this upcoming season. But that relies on him convincing Nagelsmann of his talents and work rate and signing a new contract at Bayern, otherwise he is leaving this summer to finance other transfer moves.

Remy Vita

Remy Vita is a very strange case. He was loaned out to Barnsley FC in the Championship. He didn’t get a single minute for the first 20 matches he was at the club. Then he got a 3 minute cameo. Then he started the next 18 matches in a row, playing the full 90 minutes in all but four of them. Then he wasn’t in the squad for the last two matches of the season. Like I said, it’s very strange.

Barnsley has no buy option, as far as I know, and Vita has a contract until 2024 at Bayern II. Considering Bayern II has already signed a left back for the upcoming season, Vita is likely to leave. Though keeping him as a depth option might not be bad for the club.

Ron Thorben Hoffmann

I’m pretty bitter about this loan spell. Thorben Hoffmann was loaned to Sunderland in League One, where he started 23 out of 25 games under manager Lee Johnson. However, during a downswing in form during winter, Johnson was fired and eventually permanently replaced by Alex Neil. And Neil never picked Hoffmann once for the final 18 games of the season, instead preferring Anthony Patterson. I think Hoffmann is much better than Patterson, but what do I know? Neil did get Sunderland promoted.

It doesn’t look like Hoffmann has a future at Sunderland anymore, but it was said that Sunderland had an option about 1 million when certain requirements were met. The most commonly reported requirement was that Sunderland would have to buy if they got promoted. There are also conflicting reports that say the buy option was actually a mandatory buy clause and that Sunderland would have to pay no matter what if they got promoted and some reports that state that the buy clause was instead dependent on amount of appearances. Either way, Sunderland did get promoted. We’ll see which reports were correct.

If Hoffmann does come back to Bayern, though, his contract is up in 2023 and Bayern will likely try to move him on.

Fiete Arp

He’s been terrible. Chuck has made actual BFW articles about Arp’s loan spell. Read them instead. I don’t hate the player but I do hate the wages. He needs to be sold. Contract up in 2024.

Lovro Zvonarek

He’s an exciting player. Bayern bought him last summer and loaned him back to his original club, Slaven Belupo. His season was largely disrupted through injuries, but he impressed throughout when he was fit. He was so impressive that he was named captain of Slaven Belupo towards the end of the season and became the youngest ever captain in the Croatian league’s history. Another record to add after he became the youngest goal scorer in the Croatian league. He will join Bayern next summer and likely be part of Bayern II. That should be interesting.

Final thoughts

All right. That was my (hopefully but probably not) totally comprehensive review of all the players out on loan from Bayern in the 2021/22 season. This season’s loans were far better than the ones last season, but it was still a pretty mixed bag in total. Hopefully, the club can continue to improve the loans. And hopefully actually hire a loan manager! Because they are crucial to maintaining a good loan system.

Like I said, I’ll also be making a fan post about recapping Bayern II’s season and seeing where those players could end up next. I would have included it here but this fan post is far too long as it is. I ended on over 2500 words. Geez.

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