FanPost

Bayern II player evaluations

Oh boy. This took a long, long time to write. I’m going to be giving my personal thoughts on almost every Bayern II player and speculating on their long-term future at the club. As in, this is going to be a very opinionated article. Just warning you.

First, a few things to clarify.

One, I’ll only be talking about U-23 players who made at least one appearance for Bayern II this past season. I’m not discussing past Bayern II player or the Bayern II players over 30.

Two, there are some who barely played last season and I don’t feel comfortable evaluating yet, whether they missed out through injury (e.g. GK Jakob Mayer) or just didn’t get enough playing time (e.g. LB Leon Fust). I either won’t write about them or will make their sections very short, in case they did still manage to make a strong impression. That will also determine whether I give a verdict on what I believe their long term future will be.

Three, I will order these players by general positions (goalkeeper, defense, midfield, attack) and then write a general estimate of the positions they played this season at Bayern II.

Four, Bayern II’s general policy is to keep players for two seasons and then either move them on or loan them out. That might not apply as much to this group of players, as most of them are extremely young and could have played for the U-19s this season. But I will, from time to time, be referencing that policy.

Note from future me: I didn't end up doing it nearly as much as I thought I would but it's still relevant.

GK

Johannes Schenk

Was injured for the first four months of the season and missed over 60% of game time. He’s come back and looked all right, though he always has a mistake in him. Apparently, he is slated to become the 3rd choice goalkeeper at the club if Früchtl leaves.

Jakob Mayer

Injured for the vast majority of the season.

Lukas Schneller

He, too, suffered from injuries and only played 4 games all season. The goalkeeping injury curse at Bayern II was truly ridiculous. Of all the Bayern II keepers, he seems to emulate Neuer’s gung ho sweeper keeping style the most.

Christian Früchtl

He wouldn’t even have been at the club for the 2021/22 season if he hadn’t broken his collarbone while mountain biking during the summer and killed any chances of a move away. He only played 7 games, but he made a strong impression. In the past, he has struggled to control his box and looked unsure of himself, but in these 7 games he looked completely sure of himself and won Bayern II matches singlehandedly. His contract runs out in 2023, so he will likely leave over the summer. It’s not very logical to reward players based on such limited sample sizes, but I’d honestly want Bayern to renew him.

Manuel Kainz

Quick side note. Bayern II had five keepers this season. And still, a U-19 keeper I’m not including on the list had to fill in once. Injuries were crazy for Bayern II this season.

Of all the keepers, Kainz played the most of Bayern II’s 38 games this season at just 10. He has been solid but unspectacular.

Defenders

Angelo Brückner, RB/LB

Angelo Brückner is your classic, dependable full back option. He won’t ever be incredible but he is always quite solid. He is most used to playing as a RB, but, as he is both very versatile and two footed, he played most his games at LB last season. He is solid on the ball, his positioning is good and he has good timing in the tackle. His major flaws are that he gets easily outmuscled and dominated aerially at his size, standing at just 5’8", and that he doesn’t offer too much going forward. He is likely to stay at Bayern II for at least another season and will play at RB next season, after Bayern II bought a LB for the upcoming season. I think he has the potential to play in the Bundesliga, but he would have to overcome the problems his physique will bring him. I don’t see much of a future for him at Bayern.

Leon Fust, LB

He has not played much this season, having been called up mainly to fill the hole at LB for Bayern rather for his talents. I expect him to be the back-up to the new LB brought in for the next season.

David Herold, LB

Another player who was called up because Bayern II lacked full backs. He is a very limited player, providing a little offensive power but little defensive cover.

Taylor Booth, RB/CM

It doesn’t quite seem right to put Booth, a midfielder, here. But he was the main right back for Bayern II this season, as Brückner and Remy Vita was Bayern II's only real recognized full back going into the season. And Remy Vita ended up leaving on loan. To be fair to Booth, though, he adapted quite well, providing a lot of creativity down the right and grabbing multiple assists.

Sadly, though, he will be joined FC Utrecht this summer as his contract expires.

Jonas Kehl, RB

He played some games at RB, was then loaned out towards the end of the summer window, brought back in January and barely played.

Nick Salihamidzic, RB

Brazzo’s son played two games totaling 65 minutes. Barely impacted Bayern II’s season. He also is likely to be the back up RB for Bayern next season. Nick doesn’t fill me with confidence when I watch him with the U-19s, but we’ll see…

Arrey-Mbi, CB

Arrey-Mbi is a strange case. Only in 2019, he was brought in from Chelsea around the same time a certain somebody named Jamal Musiala also joined from the same club. Despite being two months younger than Musiala, Arrey-Mbi was even initially put in the U-19s while Musiala started with U-17s. But while Musiala soared through the U-17s, U-19s and Bayern II to eventually make his debut for the senior squad in just one season, Arrey-Mbi remained with the U-19s. He did get promoted to Bayern II the next season but he never convinced. It’s a fitting story for how his career has stalled over the past three years.

Arrey-Mbi is tall at 6’2", wins most of his duels, is quite fast and is good on the ball. He seems to be the perfect modern CB. But his defensive positioning is poor and he seems to make at least one big mistake per game. IF he manages to iron out those flaws and IF he manages to stop making those big mistakes, he could absolutely become a top center back. He could even have a future at Bayern, in my opinion, as strange as that sounds. But he will need to start developing, which has not done at Bayern.

Currently, he has a contract until 2025 at Bayern and is on loan at FC Köln since January, guaranteed to remain there until June 2023. He hasn’t played a single minute for the senior squad, instead getting some games for the reserve team. Though he has made the bench a few times. The hope is that Arrey-Mbi can break through at Köln next season. Otherwise, Bayern might move him on in 2023.

Jamie Lawrence, CB

The thing everyone notices about Lawrence is that he is a ludicrous two meters tall. The CB is an absolute colossus and he makes opposition attackers aware of that. And, since his jump is pretty good from his days playing basketball, nobody beats him in aerial duels. He is also deceptively excellent technically. His long passes are the best of a CB at the club and among the top three in the squad. In return, though, as is to be expected from a man mountain like Lawrence, his start up speed and his top speed are below average, meaning nimble players can easily sprint past him. Additionally, he still has trouble controlling his limbs as much as he would like. At times, his lanky limbs don’t keep up with what he wants and he makes terrible technical mistakes he normally never would or completely mistimes a kick. At times, Lawrence will have a solid performance only to see it ruined by one or two dreadful technical mistakes that gift the opposition massive chances. But that still makes him a more dependable defender than Arrey-Mbi.

This is Lawrence’s second season with Bayern II, though he is still around 6 months away from his 20th birthday. With multiple center backs waiting to break into Bayern II’s roster, he is more likely to go than stay, though that departure will likely be on loan. In the long term, I think he also has the potential to play in the Bundesliga, if he develops correctly.

Gabriel Marusic, CB

He’s a fine player, I guess. He spent the entire first half of the season with the U-19 squad, but joined Bayern II after Arrey-Mbi left for Köln and still played 12 games. He’s been all right but clearly was a step down in quality from Lawrence and Feldhahn. Should play a much more prominent role next season.

Justin Janitzek, CB

He was the captain of the U-19s, so it’s not surprising that he was promoted to the squad at the beginning of the season instead of someone like Marusic, despite being a year younger than Marusic. He’s good on the ball and is a decent vocal leader, but I don’t really have much to say about him. Like a lot of young defenders at the club, he should play a more prominent role next season.

Liam Morrison, CB

The Scot barely played. His move from Celtic was a big deal but his time at Bayern has been blighted by the pandemic halting U-19 football for over a year and persistent injuries. He should, again, play a more prominent role next year.

Midfielders

Torben Rhein, CM

My word, Rhein has been such an incredible disappointment. He won the silver Fritz Walter medal in 2020, which is given to the talent deemed the second best in the entire country of Germany. He has been tipped to be a star for years. His stock was really, really high and Rhein took advantage of it, refusing to sign more than 1 year contracts with Bayern, increasing his salary with every contract and eventually managing to become the highest paid player in any Bayern youth team (unless you count Fiete Arp). Honestly, fair play, that’s some fantastic negotiating.

Rhein is incredibly good technically, able to play fantastic long passes, keep the ball well and dribble past opponents. The most remarkable thing is that he is so good technically with both feet, to the extent that even he doesn’t know which foot is his dominant one.

However, his career has been stalling for the past two years. Rhein’s biggest problem is that he is just 5’6" tall and has a physique to match. He has struggled so much coming up against grown men in the third and fourth tier of German football, unable to impose himself and delivering very uneven performances. At 19, it’s unlikely he will grow much more and so there is less reason to bet on him developing to overcome these physical issues. And now he’s at the end of the two year stint Bayern II players normally get.

Rhein’s contract is up this summer and Bayern reportedly view renewing it as an unnecessary expense. That will be the end of Rhein’s story at Bayern.

Emilian Metu, CM/LW/RW

Metu arrived from Austrian side St. Pölten in the summer of 2021 and signed a massive 4 year contract (as a comparison, the campus star Gabriel Vidovic recently signed just a three year deal). Expectations were high, but Metu has largely been a bench player this past season. It’s not all his fault, since there is an abnormally high amount of quality attacking players at Bayern II, but he was also a clear step behind the rest the entire season. He’s got a decent positional sense, but he is not defensively disciplined, lacks a bit of creativity on the ball and is not very fast. He has, though, scored a few goals by picking up intelligent positions. Perhaps my opinion of him will change if he plays more and I don’t have exceptional attacking talents to compare him to, but for now I don’t think he is that fantastic.

Moritz Mosandl, CM

The poor guy played three games before suffering an ACL injury, ruling him out for the rest of the season.

Hjun-Ju Lee, AM

It’s a little hard to classify some of these players as forwards or midfielders. At times in the second half of the season, coach Demichelis would play 3-4 attacking midfielders at once, who would at times play as attackers and then other times as midfielders. Hjun-Ju lee is one of them. Lee joined Bayern in January from South Korean side Pohang Steeler’s U-18s and has thrived at Bayern so far. Lee is a very dynamic player, able to breeze by players by changing directions quickly in one touch and able to wait and spot the right pass. He has also adapted to playing in multiple different positions well, occasionally being required to play really wide but then also needing to choose when to come inside and play more centrally. Lee makes these deicisions really well and facilitates the fluid system the coach wanted. Lee is short, even shorter than Rhein, but he uses his diminutive size to zip past players and gain that extra yard of space. He’s also still very strong in the challenge. He is still too inconsistent technically, failing to do basic control and passes from time to time, but he is very young and can still learn to be more consistent. He is a fun player to watch and I think he can become very good.

Malik Tillman, AM

Tillman is a player whose qualities lie mainly in his intelligence rather than his technical abilities. He is good on the ball, has an alright first touch and can play good passes, but his best quality is reading the game. He has great special awareness, able to pop up in good positions and form new passing angles from different positions. In general, he just has a fantastic understanding of the game, even if his technical abilities aren’t as incredible as some others.

Tillman wouldn’t be playing with Bayern II if he hadn’t gotten an ACL injury last season. Bayern decided he would be bet serve to be guaranteed playing time here and regain his confidence, otherwise he might have been on loan to a 2. Bundesliga or even Bundesliga side. Nagelsmann then even gave him game time towards the end of 2021 and proclaimed him to be part of the main squad. Then he had a bad game against BMG in 2022 and never played again. Frustratingly, Tillman spent the majority of the season either on the bench for the senior team or left out of the squad entirely. Tillman is far too good to play in the 4th division in Germany or to rot on the bench. He needs game time.

He recently signed a contract until 2024 and needs to go out on loan.

Eyüp Aydin, CM

This guy is by far my favorite Bayern II player. He’s not the best (that honor goes to Vidovic alone) but he is definitely one of the five best. When Angelo Stiller left Bayern II, I wondered how the club would replace him. By promoting a better version of him, apparently. Eyüp Aydin is a fantastic holding midfielder, able to play his way out of the tightest areas, possessing constant awareness of what is going on around him, a great long pass (though he can be somewhat inconsistent with them), the ability to consistently get himself involved in the build up despite many clubs man marking him, a fantastic set piece delivery and is able to time his challenges very well.

He’s not the tallest at 5’10", nor the fastest but his physique is good and should only get better as he ages, while his positioning mostly makes up for his lack of speed. He was the first-choice midfielder at Bayern II at the start of the season, at just 16 years old, and effortlessly dictating games. In fact, the coach began to play him in a midfield three with Tillman and Vidovic, who normally play as forwards. It was a massive show of faith in Aydin’s ability to dominate in midfield and he repaid it. Unfortunately, he suffered a massive injury in November, though he managed to bounce back from it and play most of the final games of the season.

Eyüp Aydin is someone to look out for. I’m not going to say he is going to be a top player, because career can be derailed in awful ways, but he has all the fundamentals. If he keeps building on those fundamentals, he could be a special player. His contract is up in 2023, but I’d be shocked (and heartbroken) if he did not renew.

Forwards

Nemanja Motika, LW

Motika is a strange case. Before he left Bayern in January to join Russian side Crvena Zvezda for 2 million, he was Bayern II’s top scorer, getting 15 goals and 8 assists to rack up a goal contribution around every 60 minutes. He is extremely direct, confident and has a very powerful shot. However, he tended to drift in and out of games, walking around a lot and was very streaky with his goal scoring.

Additionally, he clashed with Bayern II’s manager Martin Demichelis and was left out of the starting lineup a lot for disciplinary reasons, as Demichelis stated publically. To add to that, Bayern were attempting to sign Motika to a new contract, but Motika made a lot of noise about wanting to join the first team and how he is as good as Sane and Coman. He seems to be someone who believed in himself too much too early. Naturally, Bayern disagreed and so sold him to cut their losses.

However, Bayern reportedly has a buy back clause for Motika, who ended up getting 1 goal in 7 games for Crvena Zvezda. We might see him back at Bayern at some point in time, though I strongly doubt it. He’s always struck me as a confidence player and the one most likely to crash and burn when he hits a rough patch.

Batista-Meier, RW/AM

A very quick word on him. He was another one who Bayern had high hopes for but just did not develop physically and, as he got older, his incredible technique could not overshadow his lack of speed or strength any more. He would have left the club in the summer of 2021 if the club had found a buyer, but no buyer was found and so he played half a season with Bayern II, made the most appearances, was top scorer for the most part and then left in January to Dynamo Dresden. Where he has 12 appearances, 1 assist and no wins. Hm. Well, I hope he can turn it around next season.

Christopher Scott, AM

Scott is a very talented player who Bayern paid around 1 million to Bayer Leverkusen for around 2019, who broke into the reserve team in the 2020-21 season and established himself as one of the few bright spots that season. He is also now only 1 month left on his contract and Bayern aren’t really trying to sign him to a new contract. That’s how it goes with young players from time to time, as annoying as it is.

Scott is still very talented and I’d be annoyed at Bayern if he didn’t sign a new contract, because Bayern would be losing a good player and any chance of recouping any of the original transfer fee. But he’s not a priority. He’s probably the sixth best attacking midfielder in the youth teams. Before the likes of Zvonarek even join, then Scott will probably be even lower down that list.

Yusuf Kabadayi, ST

Kabadayi is a very quick, direct player that can loosely be defined as a striker, though he likes to drift out wide a lot. He knows where the goal is and can find good positions to score, but his hold up play needs work, he can be slow to release the ball and he is not the best aerially. He will absolutely be part of the Bayern II squad next season, though. He does strike me as a player who will struggle more in the higher divisions, as there will be less space for him to run into.

Lucas Copado, ST

Just forget that he’s the nephew of Brazzo. That has nothing to do with his standing within the club. As the season has gone on, he’s played really, really well and become a very important part of the squad. His main strengths are his quick feet, finishing, ability to find space for the shot and his simple efficiency in front of goal. At 9 goals and 9 assists in 1600 minutes, Copado has about a goal contribution every 90 minutes. He also has room for growth, though. He is only about an inch shorter than Robert Lewandowksi yet provides little to none of the aerial threat the legendary polish striker does. He also made his debut for the senior team in January vs BMG.

He definitely has potential. The questions is, will he develop enough to do well at Bayern? Or will he not be good enough when his uncle forcibly promotes him to the first team?

Armindo Sieb, RW/LW/ST/RM

Sieb is another curious case. He arrived as a really promising young player on a free transfer from Hoffenheim in the summer of 2020, got his chance in the DFB Pokal for the senior team, played well and then got injured for an extended period of time. He then came back to Bayern II and was arguably the standout player in a really poor Bayern II team that got relegated. After some deliberating, Sieb ended up staying at Bayern II instead of going on loan.

This past season was a perfect summary of Sieb as a player. He played a terrible first half of the season. His main issue was his decision making, as he failed to make the right pass or decision again and again and ruined many attacks. His confidence was shot. Then he moved into a simpler role, he did more things right, his confidence went back up and soon he was a force on the right, tearing past defenders with skill, pace and power like they weren’t there. That’s the rub. Sieb needs to learn to play well when things aren’t going well.

His contract is up in 2023. Bayern will likely sign him to a new contract, because he is very talented, but he will almost certainly go out on loan as well and he will need to be better there because those clubs won’t play him when he’s not doing well. Sieb needs to be more consistent, and if he is, he can become a special player. But he is still very far away from that level.

Gabriel Vidovic, AM

Vidovic was, by far, the best player for Bayern II last season. That is the simple truth. He is an incredible prospect, able to dribble with the ball glued to his feet like Musiala, find perfect passes, make great runs into the box, find the right angles to shoot and above all the composure is what is so astounding. He does everything with the utmost confidence. As an example, he scored multiple goals off of receiving a rebound, realizing a defender is overcommitting to stop the shot, dragging the ball past the defender and pulling off an easy finish. Most people would just hit the ball and hope it goes in but Vidovic has the composure necessary to process everything going on around him and make the right decision with a second or two. It’s absolutely tremendous.

Vidovic recently signed his professional contract at the club until 2025. If there is any player that deserves the chance to be promoted to the senior team, it’s Vidovic. I hope either Nagelsmann integrates him properly or he gets loaned out. Vidovic is already a Bundesliga standard player, he needs to play in a league more challenging than the fourth tier of Germany.

Closing thoughts

I think that, across the board, this is the most talented Bayern II side I have ever seen. Granted, I’ve only been following Bayern II for four years so that doesn’t really mean all that much. But, even without Motika, Batista-Meier and Booth, I think there are 12 players (Früchtl, Brückner, Lawrence, Arrey-Mbi, Lee, Tillman, Aydin, Scott, Kabadayi, Copado, Sieb and Vidovic) with the potential to play in the Bundesliga. That’s not all too common, and with more players joining Bayern II this summer and some very talented U-19 players set to be promoted, the squad looks to remain strong. Honestly, I’m pretty happy with Bayern’s campus work right now. And it keeps going as well as this, then Bayern II should stay strong for years to come.

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