Friday, December 2, 2022

Bayern Munich: Season Preview, Expectations, Key Men And Final Predictions

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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.

After covering Borussia Dortmund’s chances in the upcoming season, T4O looks ahead to German Champions Bayern Munich and how they might fare in the new season under Carlo Ancelotti.

Bayern, on the lookout for their sixth consecutive Bundesliga title, easily suggests the fact that the Bavarians are on a different level in contrast to their Bundesliga counterparts. So how will they stack up next season?

Expectations: What’s more important to Bayern than winning titles? Even though die Roten have failed to win the coveted Champions League, the road to winning the league has been rather swift. The appointment of the pronounced Carlo ‘CL expert’ Ancelotti, skyrocketed the expectations in the said competition. After failing at the hands of the mighty Real Madrid, the Italian must win the competition this time around. Clinching the DFB Pokal wouldn’t hurt either.

Key players: Almost all of the players are key to Bayern’s success but if I had to choose, Thiago Alcantara comes into mind. The former Barcelona youth prodigy simply owned the Bundesliga last term. He was by far the best midfielder in the league last season. Thiago’s distribution and composure, while in possession keeps the shape intact while offensively, he is one Bayern’s main source of creativity. It seems like the 25-year-old is finally living up to his talent. Arturo Vidal is equally important in midfield. The combatant midfielder helps Bayern dominate the opposition with his sheer physicality and aggression.

In attack, Arjen Robben is still Bayern’s best player even at the ripe old age of 33. The Dutch winger still has the ability to cause some serious issues for the opposition defences. He scored an impressive 16 goals and provided 14 assists last season. Age seems to be just a number for this Bayern Munich evergreen star.

Player to look out for: Definitely the new signing, James Rodriguez. His loan move could be a stroke of brilliance by the Bayern board or it could go down to be a disaster at the end. But make no mistake, all eyes will be on this Colombian superstar. If he can find his rhythm, then it could be curtains for the rest of the Bundesliga teams. Juan Bernat could also prove to be a key player, now with Philipp Lahm gone. He is currently out until October due to injury, however.

Strengths: Similar to Dortmund, offensive firepower is by far Bayern’s greatest asset. The Bavarians scored an impeccable 89 goals last season, despite roughly managing an xG(expected goals) plot of 69, per Alex Rathke’s xG chart. Carlo Ancelotti’s side are experts when it comes to last minute goals. They have scored the most number of goals in the final 15 phase of the game, than any other side last season. Apart from offensive firepower, an amazing squad depth is often the key to success. Bayern have no less than five players who could play as a central midfielder. While Vidal and Thiago are the top picks, they also have Corentin Tolisso, Sebastian Rudy, Joshua Kimmich and Renato Sanches to cover the midfield positions.

A strong defence is also an important factor behind their recent successes. Bayern Munich conceded the least number of goals last season. The defensive pairing of Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng signals their credibility in defence.

Weaknesses: Despite having a squad, chock-full of world class talents, Bayern will have to face several problems going into the season. The defence, in particular, has come under a lot of criticism in recent games. Mats Hummels and Javi Martinez looked awful in the pre-season while Jerome Boateng will be out injured. Philipp Lahm’s retirement could also take its toll on the record champions. Joshua Kimmich showed some promise but many doubt his potential of being a proper replacement for the German World Cup Winner.

Lack of alternatives in the offence could also prove to be an issue. In case Robert Lewandowski gets injured, Carlo Ancelotti will have no direct replacement available for the Polish international. Thomas Müller struggled to buy into the role of primary striker last term, scoring only five goals.

End of season prediction
Bundesliga: Champions
DFB Pokal: Finals
Champions League: Semi Finals

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