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Ryan Gravenberch “ready for the next step”

Bayern Munich’s youngest first-team central midfielder is enjoying a fast start to life in Munich.

FC Bayern München v VfL Wolfsburg - Bundesliga Photo by Roland Krivec/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Bayern Munich’s newest midfielder on the senior team, Ryan Gravenberch, appears poised for a breakthrough. Only twenty years of age and having just arrived this transfer window, Gravenberch has already earned a steady stream of playing time this season, mostly off the substitutes’ bench. According to Sport Bild, as captured by @iMiaSanMia:

In addition to the good impression he made during his short cameos so far, Ryan Gravenberch has also impressed in training. Internally, there’s agreement that the Dutchman is ready for the next step is the coming weeks.

Gravenberch has made the most out of limited time on the pitch, as well — impressing with his smooth composure on the ball and passing range and vision. Here he is navigating through VfL Bochum’s midfield last Sunday:

Bayern’s heavy fixture list is coming fast, and with it the recent news that it’s going to be a lethal Champions League group stage as well. Gravenberch’s fast acclimation to Bayern’s tempo is welcome news, as he’ll likely be called upon in important games relatively soon — with his first start now seeming likely to come on August 31st, in the DFB-Pokal match against Viktoria Köln.

The double pivot in head coach Julian Nagelsmann’s 4-2-2-2 has been Joshua Kimmich and Marcel Sabitzer to date, with Gravenberch slotting naturally into Sabitzer’s role as the somewhat more defensive of the two midfielders. However, like Sabitzer, Gravenberch has qualities going forward and isn’t shy to do so.

The midfield makeup this season will be a storyline to watch. The traditional pairing of Leon Goretzka with Kimmich might see a shakeup if Goretzka’s tendency to drive forward are seen as an imbalance within the system — but who’s to say Goretzka won’t make an adaptation as well?

Competition like this is only a positive, and can be expected to breed excellence. Bayern fans will delight in the reports that it has already, with their young Ajax transfer in Gravenberch already making the most of his early opportunities.

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