The summer transfer window has come and gone, and with the shuffles of personnel comes a shuffle in the ranks at Bayern Munich. That makes it a perfect time to do another Bavarian Football Works squad ranking.
Our writers are tasked with ranking the top 20 Bayern players in the squad on whatever criteria they see fit. The ranks are then aggregated to create blend of who we think the top players in the squad are, taking into account many subjective factors.
Without further ado, here are the September rankings for Bayern's squad:
The level of his play has not changed, maintaining his high level of play for. What he has become is an irreplaceable constant that has become imperative for his club and his country. Players might be able to replicate his pace and his link-up play, but his unique finishing ability is one of a kind. His return to health will help get Bayern back on their usual torrid pace.
He was brought in as defensive support, became a defensive solution, and now a more superfluous defensive piece. His best chance for consistent playing time is for Guardiola to use the back three he used most of the preseason, but after abandoning it in the first two matches, who knows how much credence that formation will get before Martínez returns. Now out of the national team picture, he is now a plug-in guy for when someone will need rest rather than a rock that the squad can rely on.
Javi Martínez (Cowper's Rank: 5 | Aggregate: 19)
Pep Guardiola has rolled out his 3-4-3 and that formation is fundamentally reliant on Martinez to function at it's peak ability. Despite his loss for at least the rest of the calendar year, the formation has persisted in both of their opening games of the Bundesliga. The only issue is no player in this system has shown the ability to play that central role in the 3-man backline. Dante was mediorcre at best against Wolfsburg, while the use of Xabi Alonso as a deep playmaker in the Schalke match was clearly not the answer either. While the addition of Mehdi Benatia is still a wildcard, this team as it is currently set up needs Martinez to be at it's best.
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (Hasib's Rank: 11 | Aggregate: 21)
He has recently put a strange thought into my mind, or at least, his role has. He seems to be the auxiliary player for Bayern, able to play anywhere and everywhere in midfield and in the back line as well. He reminds me of Kevin Grosskreutz's role at Dortmund. What I have learned about Højbjerg is that he is a physically strong player; he is not scared to go into a challenge. A long injury list means Pep Guardiola will be using Højbjerg much more than last season. I think he will be a very important player this season.
Rafinha (Quinn's Rank: 15 | Aggregate: 20)
I still believe that when push comes to shove, Rafinha is going to be a key player for the club when his fitness comes around. His fiery attitude is a big positive (and, to be fair, a big negative at times), and I love seeing it on display seemingly every time he takes the field against Borussia Dortmund. While I never want to suggest that Philipp Lahm is in any way, shape, or form an injury risk for the club, the captain does turn 31 in a couple of months. Once he's back to fitness, don't be shocked when your see Rafinha making the 18 on a fairly regular basis.
Philipp Lahm (Rudnik's Rank: 8 | Aggregate: 4)
I know! Blasphemy! Lahm is not one of my top 5 most important players on Bayern, and I should feel shame. I did not mean to disrespect the skipper. He is just not playing FB anymore – position seems to have disappeared – and there are enough guys in the team that can handle the middle of the field. Rode has been doing a very credible job, Xabi Alonso stepped right in and had a very calming effect on the team despite not having practiced at all, and Alaba and Hojbjerg could cover in a pinch.
Mehdi Benatia (VanOpdorp's Rank: 5 | Aggregate: 12)
Yes, he does not have a long track record. Yes, he has not played a minute for Bayern yet. Yes, he may not be fit quite yet, but one fact remains. Bayern have never paid this much for a straight-up center back in the history of their club. The amount of time they took scouting him and negotiating with Roma is not negligible. He will single-handedly change the Bayern defensive structure, and will make a 0-5 aggregate loss seem like ancient history.
His rise through the ranks has been remarkable to watch. At just 17, he has already started a cup match and a league match. With Toni Kroos gone, he and Thiago Alcântara remain the only two adaptable playmakers in the squad. He could find himself on many team sheets this season, perhaps at the expense of other Bayern prospects.