Benjamin Pavard’s future has been in question for the better part of this season for Bayern Munich, as he had appeared to make it clear that he wanted to leave the club this summer. Pavard previously said that he’d already won everything there is to win at Bayern after transferring from VfB Stuttgart back in 2019, which is technically true. It seemed that he was growing rather frustrated that he wasn’t able to get as many minutes at his preferred position of center back and was instead far more often deputizing as a right back. Now, however, that has changed and Pavard has had a change of heart.
João Cancelo’s arrival from Manchester City on loan during the January transfer window, combined with the long-term injury to Lucas Hernandez, has given Pavard the perfect opportunity for Julian Nagelsmann to use him often at center back. In Bayern’s last six matches across all competitions, Pavard has actually featured as a center back with Nagelsmann’s tactical switch to using a back three system ever since the 4-0 win over FSV Mainz in the DFB-Pokal round of 16.
Nagelsmann’s tactical switch seems to have worked wonders for the time being and Pavard is enjoying the fact that he can now play more as a center back, which is his preferred spot. He recently spoke about how he’s benefited from Cancelo’s winter arrival at the club and how much the Portuguese defender has helped the club. “For me it now means that I can play more often at center-back like I’ve always wanted to. Being the first station in the build-up game, taking on duels, defending high — those are the things I like to do,” he recently told Sport1’s Kerry Hau (via @iMiaSanMia).
“João is a great player, as he has shown at his previous clubs. It’s good for the team that there’s competition at every position. I’m trying to repay the coach’s trust with the best possible performances,” Pavard continued in admiration of his new teammate.
Cancelo has already tallied two assists from his first two appearances for Bayern and he’s been such a versatile piece of the squad for Nagelsmann with his ability to play on either the right or left flank as an attacking-minded wing back — it gives the attacking players proper service and space in dangerous areas. And it may just help extend Pavard’s stay in Bavaria.