Last Seasonai??i??s Result – Bundesliga: Runners-up. DFB-Pokal: Runners-up. UEFA Champions League: Runners-up.

Any other club in Germany, with the exception of the Werkself, would have taken the past season, under the impression of the aforementioned results, as their belle Ai??poque. But walking the Neverkusen Trail was, is and will never be in the agenda of Die Roten. Failure to overcome their stymied opponents in Black and Yellow on the domestic front could have still been accepted. But failure to win their fifth Champions League trophy, in front of their home crowd, against a team that had supposed to have gotten there through so-called epic benevolence of luck and anti-football, could hardly be appreciated.

The defeat in the Champions League final ensured back-to-back barren seasons at the Allianz Arena, a bitter pill the inherentAi??swagger (read arrogance) in the Bayern management found hard to swallow. The innuendo of the trophy-saken seasons has helpedAi??the bosses realize that Bayern is no longer considered as the best in Germany. The voice of Hoeness rang the alarm bell loudAi??and clear. So, what have they done to prepare for the reparation? How have Bayern addressed the exigencies to tame theAi??Borussian shrew, if at all?

For appetizers, Sporting Director Christian Nerlinger was replaced by Dortmund legend and former Ballon dai??i??Or winner, MatthiasAi??Sammer. Hans-JAi??rg Butt, who stepped down from his responsibilities as the head of Bayernai??i??s youth development project, wasAi??replaced by Wolfgang Dremmler. For entree, CEO Rummenigge showed immaturity while lambasting former Bayern reservesai??i?? coachAi??Andries Jonker in public, when the latter questioned Bayernai??i??s youth policy and philosophy over an email.

If such frivolities were not amusing enough, at the time when solidarity should be first thing to restore, UliAi??Hoeness had to share his point of view when he referred to Mario Gomez as, ai???He is good – but not very goodai???. New joineeAi??Sammer somehow managed to squirm in his viewpoint to this futile discussion and hit back at the club president for theAi??untimely and misplaced criticism. Interestingly, manager Heynckes and former manager Ottmar Hitzfeld were heard siding with Super Mario.

Bayern

Bayern

Sammer is already feeling the heat

Bayern

Fresh Faces

The fresh faces includes the likes of Tom Starke, Mitchell Wieser, Xherdan Shaqiri, Claudio Pizarro, Mario MandA?ukiAi??, Dante. Starke had a good season with Hoffenheim, and with the retirement of Hans-JAi??rg Butt, Bayern wanted an experienced campaignerAi??to deputize Manuel Neuer. Failure of their last two academy products to rise to the occasion, Kraft and Rensing, could haveAi??paved way for Starke.

Signing of Weiser is for the future. Weiser was one of the finds of Germanyai??i??s U-17 team that won the third place in the FIFAAi??U-17 tournament. The ubiquitous right-sided footballer can play as a fullback as well as a winger and can prove to be a moreAi??than handy cover for Robben, MA?ller or Shaqiri.

Shaqiri, the two-time Credit Suisse Player of The Year award winner came to limelight following his cameo against FC Baselai??i??sAi??victory over Manchester United where he orchestrated both the goals of his side. The KraftwA?rfel can play on the right-wing, right-wingback as well as anywhere in the attacking third, making him an ideal back up for Robben, Ribery and even Kroos in the hole behind the striker.

Bayern

Bayern

Can he make the difference?

Bayern

Pizarro, in his second stint with the Bavarian club, brings with him tons of experience. Last season Bayern struggled in theAi??games when they missed Gomez through injury. Olic left for pastures new and greener, Petersenai??i??s Bundesliga career neverAi??really took off, and career of Vastic and Jennings is still pupating. Pizarro, who has scored a hundred goals with Bayern,Ai??had a good season with Bremen in the last term when he netted 18 times in 29 games and looks the safest bet to play secondAi??fiddle to Gomez.

Bayernai??i??s Achilles heel for some time now has been their defence. The centre-half pairing of Badstuber and Boateng is notAi??intimidating, and they lack the understanding as well. Bayern decided to go for the defensive stalwart Dante who had a moreAi??than decent season with the Foals. This could mean that Lahm is going back to his left-back position, whereas BoatengAi??replaced Lahm in right-back and Dante forming a partnership with Stubsi with van Buyten as their back-up.

Even though rumours surrounding Olivier Giroudai??i??s signing were ripe, Bayern took a detour and stole MandA?ukiAi??Ai??from WolfsburgAi??instead. Tall, strong in headers, comfortable on the ball and experienced with life at Bundesliga, the Croat had a decentAi??outing with the national team in Euro 2012. It will be interesting to see how Bayern shape up with three decent strikersAi??under their payroll.

With the signings made, it was clear that Bayern had identified that the team is not in need of an overhaul. Only the benchAi??strength needed to be strengthened and signings of Starke, Pizarro, MandA?ukiAi??, Shaqiri and Weiser serves exactly thatAi??purpose. A comparison with last seasonai??i??s bench strength that had Usami, Olic (injured), Petersen etc only tells that BayernAi??are in a better position as far as man-power is concerned.

However, the trickiest part is to see how Heynckes maintains harmony in the side that comprises of a few incendiariesAi??(excluding Breno). Robben and Ribery are experienced campaigners and will surely expect to play if fit. Kroos had been one ofAi??the hors concours of last season. How will Shaqiri fit in, if he is promised a starting role? Much of Bayernai??i??s success ofAi??this season lies in the answer to this question.

From The Grapevine

Bayern have been linked with de Jong, Pirlo and Sahin. Though, the club officials have rubbished any such reports, theirAi??pursuit of Lars Bender and Javi Martinez had been confirmed by the respective clubs as well as the players’ agents. While LeverkusenAi??kept playing with Bayern as they did in the last season with an impending transfer of Vidal, the obscene asking price ofAi??Martinez stalled any possibility of the transfer of the Basque player.

Further drama emerged when Los Leones manager BielsaAi??threatened to quit the club if Martinez is cashed in. And amidst all this, Martinez’s agent kept hogging the limelight byAi??first declaring his client’s interest in securing a Bundesliga transfer and then retracting his statement byAi??following it up with his client’s desire to stay put.

The search for a holding-midfielder/deep-lying play-maker leaves both Gustavo and Tymoschukai??i??s future in a limbo. Gustavo hadAi??been brilliant in breaking-up opposition attacks in the last term and Tymo is a marquee squad player. Hot prospect Emre CanAi??has also been promoted to the senior squad. Schweinsteiger is there too, he ain’t going nowhere! What could then be the needAi??for Bayern to enter the transfer-souk?

Analysis Of The Pre-season

Results

SpVgg Unterhaching0 ai??i?? 1Bayern Munich
FC Ismaning0 ai??i?? 4Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich11 ai??i?? 0Trentino XI
Bayern Munich2 ai??i?? 3S.S.C. Napoli
Beijing Guoan0 ai??i?? 6Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich2 ai??i?? 1VfL Wolfsburg
Paulaner XI0 ai??i?? 15Bayern Munich
FC Kaiserslautern2 ai??i?? 3Bayern Munich
Werder Bremen2ai??i??2 (4 ai??i?? 2 p)Bayern Munich
Hamburger SV0ai??i??1Bayern Munich


Pre-season friendlies are a good rostrum to try out new tactics as well as to adjudge the mAi??tier of the talented academyAi??products and knocking-on-the-first-team-door reserve players. Not too sure about Jupp Heynckesai??i?? giving way to his sideai??i??sAi??desiccating andante to incorporate a new stratagem, since there was no such thing as a tactical rejig. But the academy andAi??reserves sides have presented with some hope for the future, the future where Bayern will not be letting out a miserere toAi??Dortmund.

Out of the ten friendlies played so far, Bayern were defeated only once in normal time. Apparently, though, there is not muchAi??to read between the lines of the pre-season successes, let alone the astronomical margins of some of the victories. TheAi??ai???apparentai??i?? is however important when the much criticized-yet-backed striker, who has scored five goals in one of these so-called irrelevant games, gets side-lined for six weeks.

The ‘apparent’ becomes even more important as Bayern couldAi??possibly miss out their second-hand fullbacks as Contento (hairline fracture on left foot), Alaba (stress fracture) andAi??Rafinha (tearing ankle ligament) are likely to miss the DFL-Supercup clash against Dortmund. Even Schweinsteiger took aAi??knock in a game in LIGA Total! Cup and there is no confirmation in his playing chances on Sunday’s final as yet.

A number of players from and youth and reserves squad were included in the pre-season test-phase. Among the players from theAi??youth and reserves team who managed to get recognition were Emre Can, Mitchell Weiser, Kevin Friesenbichler, Oliver Markoutz,Ai??Daniel Wein and Benno Schmitz. Lukas Raeder, David Vrzogic, Patrick Weihrauch, Pierre-Emile Hojberg and Vladimir RankovicAi??were also given test-drives.

Bayern

Bayern

Friesenbichler – the shooting star

Bayern

Before the senior squad flew to China, the shooting stars practised with the team and 17-year-old Markoutz and 18-year-oldAi??Friesenbichler were amongst the unheard names who won the rapt attention of the senior squad boss. Markoutz scored onceAi??against Ismaning, and scored twice and provided one goal in the game against Trentino. Fellow Austrian, Friesenbichler nettedAi??a hattrick against Trentino, after scoring once against Ismaning, earning him Heynckes’ encouragement.

He’s a good lad with huge ability in front of goal. Although obviously, he has a great deal to learn about team play outside the box.

Shaqiri and MandA?ukiAi??Ai??seamlessly integrated with the team’s chorale and even put up impressive pre-season outings, scoringAi??several goals in the process. Shaqiri and Weiser had been instrumental in setting up several opportunities as well. TheAi??signing of MandA?ukiAi??Ai??and Pizarro is likely to be put into test with immediate effect as Bundesliga’s third most hattrick-scorer erstwhile Super Mario, will be missed in the Supercup final as well as in the first couple of Bundesliga games.

Supercup is a good test for the lads who will be facing their nemesis for two years for the first time in this season, and aAi??victory will definitely sweeten the contretemps created by the injuries to as many as four players during the pre-season. This will be their fifth Supercup victory if Bayern manage to beat Dortmund.

Bayern play their first Bundesliga game against newly promoted side Greuther FA?rth, away from home on 24th of August. TheAi??Cloverleaves, who have three German league championships under their belt (all won prior to the foundation of Bundesliga),Ai??could expect a disastrous start to their first ever Bundesliga outing, even more so if Bayern fail to win against DortmundAi??for the sixth consecutive time. Come what may, Bayern will look forward to win the Golden Jubilee Bundesliga season.

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2 Responses to “Bayern Munich – Season Preview And Squad Analysis”

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  1. Sid says:

    Lahm will not be moved to LB. Dante,Bads and Boateng will be rotated at CBs with Alaba and Contento at LB. Lahm’s understanding with Robben is key to Bayern’s flank play on the right. Robben does very little tracking back to defend and Lahm’s experience and pace will be important here. Ribery on the other hand does a bit of defending and seems to be more flexible with who’s playing behind him.

    Untill Alaba / COntento return to the team, It’ll probably be Gustavo or Emre Can who’ll play LB. Lahm will remain at RB.