March-ing On to the Next Generation

The month of March means the season is entering the concluding phase. For the club, this means a whole array of things, including preparing for the next round of the Champions League after winning against PSG. While it seems that the form of the entire team is heading back to expectations (in delivering convincing wins), the writer here would like to stress a few things to look out for for the rest of the season, as well as in the immediate seasons ahead.

One of the things the writer would like to raise is the state of the team's defence. As some readers may remember, this is the same writer who wrote that Fanpost article about Lucas Hernández back in November. Although he will only be available again by mid-May at the earliest, the current defence is sort of in an iffy state, to put it mildly. Sure, the likes of Matthijs de Ligt, Dayot Upamecano, and Alphonso Davies are regularly available, but given the relative fluidity of the coach's tactics, just one more key defender being absent long-term for any reason could derail the entire season, especially come the Champions League and Pokal, as even mere minor lapses in the defence can lead to elimination by conceding too many goals, or even penalties.

After bringing up Lucas and Matthijs, the author would also like to point out the potential question of who the captain will be a few seasons from now. On paper, this is easy to say, it would be Joshua Kimmich. A lot of Bayern fans know by now that Manuel Neuer and Thomas Müller will eventually hang up their boots. As the author himself noticed on Twitter, some already see Matthijs as the next captain. While it is highly likely that Matthijs will be designated as vice-captain eventually as things currently stand, there is no consensus yet as to who will be the third captain. It could be Lucas, but as mentioned earlier, he will only return in two months (in the best-case scenario). It could even be Phonzie or Jamal Musiala, the youngest high-profile players in the squad, but it is too early to tell if either two would be tipped to get to wear the captain's armband.

Speaking of youngest, there is also the issue of attracting and integrating youngsters into the core squad, as well as keeping them long enough. Of course, the aforementioned Phonzie and Musiala are consistent starters. However, whereas Musiala is all but certain to stay in the club beyond his current contract terms, things enter a grey area regarding Phonzie. In the case of the latter, he will also stay, but it is only certainly so until the World Cup in North America. Apart from those two, there are also others, like Vidovic and Wanner, who are either currently or will be on-loan to another club to gain experience. The reason this whole point is raised is to highlight that our team needs, not just players brought from outside the club with tons of experience (like Goretzka and Choupo), but also some developed within the club to carry on the DNA and legacy of those who made it through the whole path (like Thomas Müller and Philipp Lahm).

The author could go on, but the points raised above are sufficient for now. Now that it is nearly ten years (as of the time of posting) since the UCL win at Wembley, only Thomas Müller and Manuel Neuer are left from that batch, which means that a new generation is stepping up to carry on the legacy of both that season and the 2019-20 season (when our team also won the treble, albeit under modified circumstances). The legacy from the 2012-13 batch, which also includes other club legends, like Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger, is waiting to be honoured once again, especially now that we have a coach who can energise and rejuvenate the whole squad. The eventual outcomes will also act as a blueprint in preparing each player for the World Cup in North America, as a lot of Bayern fans living there will almost certainly be watching the matches where our players will be playing in, thus raising expectations further. Think of it as if the club legends are watching our team every step of the way. Let us hope that the issues mentioned above will be addressed, so that the club's DNA will remain something that future generations, and even those from other teams, can emulate, with the right balance of consistent successes in competitions, integrating homegrown players into the team, immense fan support, and positive reputation, so that the virtuous cycle that the club is known for will remain strong.

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