Bayern Munich have digested their first taste of the new season, going perfect through four matches to remain near the top of the table. Though not set in stone, Pep Guardiola has begun to set the roles for his squad as he shakes out the right system for the Hinrunde.
With Champions League football about to get underway, the crew at Bavarian Football Works has decided to update their squad rankings from August. Each writer has their own criteria for how to rank the players in Bayern's squad, but the aggregate rankings give an idea of where BFW thinks the status of each player is in Guardiola's arsenal.
Without further ado, here are the Bayern Munich squad rankings for the month of September.
= rank increase
= rank decrease
"–" = not ranked
Douglas's rise was profound, but expected from a player with four assists in three matches. Alonso meanwhile has cemented his role at the tip of Bayern's defensive diamond. He is normally a liability when he tracks back and defends, but he has excelled to the point Guardiola is comfortable using him as a center back. He is the No. 6 Guardiola has dreamed of for his system, but one has to wonder how long his form will last.
Robin's stock surely dropped the most, but his rank is mostly a result of his injury more than anything else. Bernat's stock has steadily decreased over the past few months, once ranked inside the top ten and now firmly on the bench. A year ago, he was a versatile flank player who could bring the ball forward in attack. He is now a one-dimensional piece, a strong one-on-one player but not a strong contributor in any other area. With Alaba in flying form and Gaurdiola hoping to push his ball-winning players higher upfield, Bernat could have trouble replicating the minutes he received a year ago.
Douglas Costa (Cowper's Rank: 8 | Aggregate: 6): Despite Douglas Costa's amazing whirlwind entrance to the Bundesliga, the Brazilian winger still has some length to go to prove how crucial he is to Bayern Munich. The presence of Arjen Robben on the right who is equally capable of taking over games and providing the requisite width for Bayern Munich moves Douglas Costa down the list for me. However, I should note I rated him before the injury to Robben when away with the Netherlands, so I would place Costa higher now than before as he now represents the only healthy wide attacking midfielder on the Bayern roster.
Arjen Robben (Quinn's Rank: 5 | Aggregate: 9): Robben is Bayern's best player. It's that simple. Robben's importance to Bayern winning another triple is paramount. He adds an extra element out wide that nobody – yes, not even Douglas Costa – brings to the table for Pep Guardiola's team. His recent injury is another set back for him, but his return will be much celebrated. Robben is the spice that adds the kick to the drink that is Bayern.
Philipp Lahm (Rudnik's Rank: 8 | Aggregate: 3): The main reason for not ranking Philipp Lahm any higher has as much to do with which position I see him in, which is still midfield, as opposed to RB, as it does how much more irreplaceable some of the other players have become. Even though it appears that Pep is much more likely to rotate the captain back into the defense this season, I still rate him as more of a central player, and there is just a glut of options available for the coach. As much as it would hurt to lose Lahm to an injury, there are a lot of players that can be plugged in, and even Rafinha has shown over the last two seasons that he is a quite able replacement in the back.
Medhi Benatia (VanOpdorp's Rank: 9 | Aggregate: 13): Bayern are not going to win the Champions League without a center back like Benatia. The diamond defense works for now, Guardiola able to throw an extra midfielder forward against compact teams, but Bayern are eventually going to need impetus in defense against the best teams. He is not as tactically flexible as other options in Bayern's side, but his defending is the best of any player in Bayern's squad.
Bayern had a prolific transfer window, bringing a lot of class to their squad, but one player remains off the list at the moment: Kingsley Coman. The teenager made his debut at the weekend against Augsburg since Götze, Ribéry, and Robben were all unavailable. His inexperience was very apparent, but he showed flashes as another quality winger Bayern have been lacking in recent years. Should he get an extended run in the team, he may impress enough to become a reliable player for Guardiola.