Bayern Munich’s season 2011-12 did not really end as expected. A team, which was in contention of winning a treble till April, failed to win single silverware; thus making them a worthy disciple of Bayer Leverkusen, the perennial runner-ups. The last season was the second in a row without a trophy. Uli Hoeness and Co. have never had a good reputation of accepting defeat in correct spirits. So, it is expected that the board will sanction the plea to splash the cash to end this barren two-year spell.
Though, Heynckes have always had the backing of the board, it is about time he finds a cure for the cancer called Borussia Dortmund. Five games, five losses in two seasons – never has been a club, in Germany or in the continent, so dominant against the Bavarian giants. And for that to happen Heynckes will have to assess the positions that really need reparation for the coming season.
Be it the failure of Breno to concentrate more on the field instead of on the medical table or mercenarying around, the failure of Eastern sensation Takashi Usami to step up his playing level, failure of Rafinha to cope with the pressure of playing at the highest level, failure of Petersen to adapt to the level of football in the first division or the absence of a vocal demiurge on the pitch – all these factors have somehow managed to etch several chinks in the Bavarian armory.
Certain senior players can be arraigned for failures at crucial junctures – like the two penalty misses by Arjen Robben; one against Dortmund that nipped Bayern’s chances to finish above Dortmund in the league and the second one in the Champions League final whose aftermath went into Chelsea’s folklore. There should be no reason to cut some slack for Mario Gomez. Had the powerful striker taken even one-third of the chances that came his way in the final two games of the Champions League, neither of the games would have gone on to shootouts.
So, what are the areas of concern for Bayern? Which players should they invest in to end their trophy-drought?
Possible Departures from Bayern Munich
After spending quality time with Hamburg and Leverkusen, the veteran goalie joined Bayern in 2008 at the twilight of his career. Though, he was signed to play a second fiddle to Michael Rensing, the much touted heir to Oli Kahn. Things did not turn as expected for the rookie and soon Butt was handed the start in place of Rensing and the rest was history.
Butt, who even managed to score a crucial penalty against Juventus in Champions League, 2009, served one more year as the back-up to another of Bayern’s youth graduates, Thomas Kraft, was reinstated to the starting line-up following the rookie’s poor form and eventually kept in the Champions League final in which Bayern lost to Inter. At the end of this season Butt announced his retirement from football. In his farewell game, Bayern named him the captain of the side that defeated The Netherlands in a friendly.
Despite spending nearly four years at the club, including a loan spell at Nuremberg in 2010, the former Sao Paulo defender could only feature in as many as 21 Bundesliga games. He failed to establish himself on the pitch as a result found him pushed down the pecking order. The Brazilian will be allowed to leave, most probably to Lazio.
The tenacious Croat, who was relegated to be a back-up for Mario Gomez, decided to march on as it was clear that Bayern would adopt a lone-striker strategy. For a striker of his caliber, he surely deserves a lot more playing time than he gets in Bayern. So, all in all this is a win-win situation for both parties involved.
When Usami was loaned in from Gamba Osaka, he was touted to be Bayern’s reply to Dortmund’s Kagawa. The comparison was of course, ill-prorated as the Japanese star failed to live up to the hype. Having played in as many as three Bundesliga games and in total five times for the senior side, Usami scored only once, against Ingolstadt in DFB Pokal. Bayern will not exercise the option to buy Usami. Instead, he will set out for another loan spell with Hoffenheim.
The former Energie Cottbus hitman, who topped the goal scoring chart in Bundesliga II netting 25 times in 33 appearances, failed to get regular first team opportunities and is now looking for options elsewhere. It is likely that Bayern may listen to offers to off-load the unhappy striker to maintain dressing room chemistry.
The Bayern Munich youth graduate could be on his way out in the lookout for greener pastures. Following David Alaba’s praiseworthy performances for Die Roten, Contento has seen his stocks tank. Lack of first team action can force the talented left-back to look elsewhere.
Now, here are the players who have already been signed up by Bayern Munich ahead of next season.
Xherdan Shaqiri (FC Basel)
The FC Basel talisman, who impressed one and all with his creativity and vision, following Basel’s ouster of Manchester United from the Champions League, was quickly snapped up by Bayern. Usami, who was signed to play as a back-up to either of the Bayern wingers, failed to light up the Allianz Arena.
Bayern realized that they needed someone more complete and competitive. Shaqiri, who was already a name in the transfer grapevine, played his part in Basel’s 1-0 victory over Bayern in the Champions League and won himself an offer to join the Münchners from next season onwards. This signing will surely make Bayern a lot more competitive in the next season as Shaqiri is tested in Europe unlike Usami.
Shaqiri is comfortable on the right-midfield role. But the self-proclaimed polyvalent can also play on the left side as well as an auxiliary striker. Not only that, the Kraftwürfel aka power cube can also play as a fullback as well.
Dante (Borussia Mönchengladbach)
As Bayern have identified Boateng and Badstuber as their centre half pairing, they needed an able back-up to their services. Van Buyten is already in the twilight days of his career. Badstuber is young and inexperienced whereas Boateng is not a natural centre half. Dante could fit in perfectly into the squad. Instrumental in Gladbach’s renaissance season, Dante can easily feature as even the first choice centre half, replacing Boateng or Badstuber.
Claudio Pizarro (Werder Bremen)
The veteran Peruvian, who has already played for the Bavarians for six long seasons, between 2001 and 2007, has been signed up by Bayern for his second stint with the club. In all competitions, Pizarro has netted 100 goals for Bayern in 254 outings. This season he has been prolific for Bremen where he has scored 18 times in 29 games. He is the perfect striker to replace Olić. The veteran striker would not mind second fiddle to Mario Gomez and his experience of Bundesliga can prove to be vital for Bayern.
Tom Starke (Hoffenheim)
With the retirement of Butt, Bayern do not wish to make the mistakes they made when they tried to install first Rensing and then Kraft in to the first team, straight from the reserves. The veteran goalie had a good season with Hoffenheim and at this point of his career would not mind playing a back-up to Manuel Neuer.
Mitchell Weiser (Köln)
The right-sided versatile footballer has been snapped up by Bayern from Köln. The emerging talent was the find of the FIFA U-17 World Cup along with the likes of Yesil, Can and Aycicek. Weiser can play both as a right-winger as well as a right wing-back.
To keep the pressure on Mario Gomez Bayern can enter the market for one other attacker who could replace Gomez in the first team seamlessly. Apart from that they are also in the lookout for a backup for Schweinsteiger in a holding role as a deep-lying playmaker. Playing Kroos in the Champions League final did not reap them any benefit.
Possible Arrivals At Bayern Munich
The Montpellier striker was the joint top scorer in Ligue 1 this season (21 goals), finished his season with 25 goals along with 9 assists in all competitions. Bayern have been interested in the French attacker for some time now and as things stand, Giroud is so intrigued to be linked up with Bayern, that he would not even mind playing second fiddle to Mario Gomez. In his own words, “I have spoken to Ribery a bit about the Bundesliga. We spoke about the fantastic fans, the full stadiums and the great life in Germany, and of course how the Bundesliga is particularly appealing to a striker since they play attacking football there. With the amount of games Bayern play in all competitions, maybe Gomez and I could play alternately. Of course Gomez would be first choice for the big games.”
If Bayern is in the lookout for a top striker who has no qualms in playing a foil to Gomez, someone who can put pressure on Gomez to make it to the starting line-up, then Giroud is the man. The first choice for Les Blues can find himself in the Allianz Arena if he manages to pull-off a decent show in the Euro Championships.
Edin Džeko (Manchester City)
The Manchester City striker has been pushed down in the City lineup, thanks to the presence of Balotelli, Aguero and Tevez in the team. The ambitious striker wants more playing time and is looking for pastures new. Bayern, who are also in the lookout for a striker, are rumored to be keen on signing the Bosnian international from the Citizens. He is an ideal alternative for Gomez, tall and physical and is probably more comfortable on the ball. The only issue that could stand in the way is the hefty transfer fee in the excess of 30m, to which Bayern may not comply to.
Luuk De Jong(FC Twente)
The versatile attacker, who has finished second to Bas Dost of Heerenveen in Eredivisie top scorer’s list with 25 goals, has interested a few clubs including Bayern and Dortmund. Since Bayern are in need of a striker who could help Mario Gomez realize that the striker’s position is not a usufruct, Luuk De Jong is one more name in the list and, of course, a less expensive one at that.
Dries Mertens (PSV Eindhoven)
PSV Eindhoven’s winger, has scored 20 goals in Eredivisie this season and is on fourth spot in the top scorer’s list. The Belgian attacker has impressed the Bavarians and there could be a slim possibility to bring him in. This signing could land Bayern with back-ups to both Robben and Ribery.
Kevin Mirallas (Olympiakos)
The Greek Super League top scorer has helped his club win the domestic double. It seems that Mirallas’ Greek show has not gone unnoticed as Bayern have shown interest in signing the talented attacker.
John Guidetti (Feyenoord)
The Manchester City starlet, whose loan stint with Feyenoord was more than successful, has caught the watchful eyes of Bayern management. The Swedish whiz kid has scored 18 goals in Eredivisie this season, is joint fifth in top scorer’s list and has three hat-tricks under his belt. The young gun may develop well in the future and since there is no scope for him to find his way in to the City first team any time sooner, he could come cheap.
Leon Goretzka (Bochum)
The teenage sensation from Bochum has not only impressed Bayern, but even Juventus has shown interest in the player’s progress. The prolific winger was promoted to Bochum’s U-19 team at an early age as he proved to have maturity beyond his age. Goretzka, captain of the German U-17 side, was responsible to take his side to the final of Euro U-17 Championships. He scored in the final too, but could not help his side win the tournament. The addition of Goretzka alongside the already signed Weiser could only base Bayern’s future in a strong foundation.
Javi Martinez (Athletic Bilbao)
With Tymoshchuk way beyond his prime and Gustavo being more of a Van Bommel-esque player, Bayern are in the lookout for a player in Schweinsteiger’s foil. Spain’s Martinez, who is also under Manchester United’s radar, has interested the Münchners. But to sign this young prodigy Bayern may have to cough up a significantly high transfer fee, which may act as a negative catalyst for this deal to go through.
Mathieu Debuchy (Lille)
At present Rafinha deputies Lahm as a right back. Needless to say that Rafinha is not an option to count on in case of an emergent situation, possibly an injury to Lahm in the wake of a big game. Debuchy, who enjoyed a solid season with Lille, impressed the club when Germany played France in a friendly in Bremen. Debuchy was instrumental behind both the goals scored by France on that night. If Bayern sign Debuchy, he’d become an automatic first choice and Lahm will have to move to left back position. This could mean that Alaba can play as a second fiddle to Lahm or Ribery.