Monday, June 27, 2022

FC Bayern Munich 2016-17 Season Preview: Will They Dominate The League Again?

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Anas Molla
An ageing teenager who apparently still likes Twenty One Pilots and HIMYM. Also fascinated by Greek and Egyptian mythology and history. Still waiting for my man Milos Raonic to win a Grand Slam.

The Bundesliga starts tonight and with that, The 4th Official is previewing some of the best teams from the German football as they gear up once for an exciting season ahead.

We have already previewed FC Schalke and next up is FC Bayern Munich.

The undisputed champions of the Bundesliga and one of the best clubs in the world, if not the best, FC Bayern will once be looking for a treble this season. However, things have changed a bit at the Allianz Arena this season. Former Barcelona and the current Man City coach Pep Guardiola’s three-year reign at Bavaria ended at the end of last season and to replace the Catalan, Bayern have appointed former Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti.

Known as the UCL expert and widely regarded as one of the greatest managers in the game, the Italian mastermind will set out on a journey with FC Bayern as they seek to win the much coveted Champions League, something Pep failed to provide in his three years charge.

Transfers

Bayern haven’t done much business this window. Mats Hummels was signed from competitors Borussia Dortmund for 35 million euros, the move resulted in a lot of controversy and criticism over fans and media. However, in pure sporting perspectives, Hummels is a really good buy for the Bavarian Champions, national team duos and surely an upgrade over Benatia, the 27-year-old will provide quality to the Bayern backline.

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Renato Sanches is the other big signing for Bayern this season. The 18-year-old wonderkid, who helped Portugal to sensationally win the European Championships this year, was snapped up by Bayern even before the competition for a fee of 35 million euros.

In fact, Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Ruminegge explained that Bayern couldn’t have afforded Renato Sanches had they tried to sign his after the Euros.

“We are happy that we made the decision to sign him quite early, after the Champions League quarterfinal tie against Benfica. And we are very happy that we had the courage to spend big on him in April because €35m is a lot of money.”

“Bayern would not have been able to afford him had we tried to sign him after the Euros. We would be talking about crazy money now. And he would definitely not be playing in the Bundesliga next term then.” – He said according to ESPN.

Renato Sanches will offer more craft in midfield and his age makes him a solidifying prospect for FC Bayern.

Squad

Bayern have offloaded players such as Mehdi Benatia and Mario Götze but have replaced them with Mats Hummels and Renato Sanches respectively, which makes the team stronger.

Defense

You can’t expect to concede easily when you have a keeper like Manuel Neuer in goal. The best goalkeeper in the world automatically makes the Bayern defense look stronger. Bayern also have able replacements in Sven Ulreich and Tom Starke, Ulreich will undoubtedly be the number one goalkeeper for most of the Bundesliga teams.

Carlo Ancelotti will play a four-man backline this season. New signing Mats Hummels and his national team partner Jerome Boateng will be the two centre-backs. After the departure of Pep Guardiola, Philipp Lahm is expected to go back to his customary right back position and David Alaba will start as the left back.

Midfield 

Arturo Vidal has been a key figure for Bayern since he joined from Juventus and the expectation will once again be high for the Chilean midfielder to deliver this season.

While the place is sealed for Vidal in midfield, it will be interesting to see who partners alongside the 29-year-old rugged midfielder with Carlo Ancelotti having an array of options choose from. The fact that any of Xabi Alonso, Renato Sanches and Thiago Alcantara can play as the defensive playmaker alongside Vidal, makes the Bayern midfield nothing but secured.

Attack

The strike force is probably their strongest aspect for the Bavarian outfit. And when you have players like Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller or Franck Ribery amongst many other top class attackers, it’s no wonder why they have scored a whopping 80 goals last season.

Lewandowski is the main central striker for Bayern up front while Muller runs down the channels to destabilize the defense. His vicious movements and skill of being in the right place helps Bayern to levitate the opposition defense time and time again and score the odd goal.

Bayern also have quality on the wings with players such as Franck Ribery, Douglas Costa and Arjen Robben but among these superstars, there is also Kingsley Coman, the 20-year-old French star who played a breakthrough season with Bayern last year. It’s been rumored that Bayern are ready to pay Juventus 20 million euros to permanently acquire the services of the young French forward.

One to watch out for 

New signing Renato Sanches is my one to watch out for this season. The young Portuguese midfielder is young, talented and brimming with confidence after helping his nation conquer the European Championships. But also keep an eye out for Joshua Kimmich, the 21-year-old right back and one of the breakout stars at the Euros. Brave and fearless, Kimmich has been widely acknowledged as the possible replacement of Bayern captain Philipp Lahm!

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One to flop/leave

I’ll go a little wild here and predict Arjen Robben as the one to flop this season. At 32, The Dutch winger was decimated by numerous injuries for the past few years and players such as Douglas Costa, Kingsley Coman have performance well above expectation, I’d say this might be Robben’s last season at the club.

Prediction 

Probably the easiest part here right? Yes! Let’s tip Bayern to win another Bundesliga title this season too but hey! Sure it’s not going to be as easy as it was under Pep Guardiola. With all the due respect as to how good a manager Carlo Ancelotti is, he’ll still be needing time to find his bearing and put his message across to the team.

League rivals such as Dortmund, Gladbach and Leverkusen have all showed ambition this season and it’s clear to see the hunger in those teams to lift the Bundesliga after a long time so for once again, Bayern will have to perform to its maximum level to seize the trophy for a fifth consecutive time!

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