Just 6 points dropped in the entirety of the domestic season, a manageable round of 16 draw against Shakhtar Donetsk and 11 points ahead of nearest rivals, Wolfsburg – if you are a Bayern Munich fan, then it is impossible to not be filled with optimism.Ai??The Bundesliga title is wrapped up for all practical purposes, and there is no reason to doubt their title winning credentials in the Champions League as well.

Yet, despite all the highs, there are some issues that the Bavarians will want to resolve and look into during the month long winter break. Here is a checklist of what the club will want to look into:

Make a decision on Xherdan Shaqiriai??i??s future at the club

In what is proving to be a long and tiresome transfer saga for the club and the player alike, there seems to be no solution that all parties agree upon – Shaqiri wants more playing time, Bayern wonai??i??t give him more playing time, Bayern wonai??i??t let him go either. The Swiss international was expected to leave the club summer, but the insistence of the club, who believed that he was an important piece in their system, did not allow the transfer to happen.

Now, the same exact situation has arisen again. The Bayern board remain convinced that even though he is not worthy of a starting spot, his contribution off the bench is desirable. But given the strength of the squad now, Bayern could decide to sell or loan him out to an interested club and could pocket millions in the process. Based on the current situation, the latter seems the likelier of the outcomes, with a loan deal looking more and more likely. In case of a sale, the talented Swiss is valued at 20 million Euros by the club, a price tag which seems to put-off prospective suitors.

Either way, a decision must be reached soon, before further relations turn sour; involve the player and make him feel as a vital cog of the Bayern machine, or let him go for the right price.

Donai??i??t let the Ballon dai??i??Or decision impact Manuel Neuer

In late 2013, Franck Ribery was on the final shortlist for the prestigious Ballon dai??i??Or and going by his run of form, there was no reason for pessimism. However, the Bayern star finished third, and a rather undesirable turn of events followed. The Frenchman lost his form, was dropped frequently, missed the World Cup, fell out with the National Team, as involved in remarks contesting the authenticity of the award itself and has never been the same player since. Although it is unjust to blame all this on losing the Ballon dai??i??Or, but all the frustration could have started from there.

One year later, Manuel Neuer finds himself on the final shortlist. An immense year for the sweeper keeper, in which he has revolutionized the art of goalkeeping, could mean his crowning of the player of the year soon. However, judging by the forms of his two competitors and the predictability of the decision making process, could see him lose out as well.

In either case, it rests upon him and the club to halt the negative impact of the award. The confidence of the Bayern keeper is one of his strongest qualities and the so-close-yet-so-far effect of the awards might dent this, as it did to Franck Ribery. We have seen numerous cases of individual awards affecting playersai??i?? performances immediately after, and the last thing that Bayern want, is an out-of-form Manuel Neuer. Should he win the award, the same applies.

Accommodate returning stars and maintain team balance

With Holger Badstuber and David Alaba ready to return to the pitch after their respective long term injuries, there is no denying that both are players of supreme quality, have proven to be consistent and performed when the club needed them the most. Badstuber was one of Europeai??i??s finest center backs until the unfortunate injury run that stripped him of 2 years of football, and Alaba is arguably the best offensive full back in the world at the moment.

Come February, both should fit enough to feature regularly. But there is a catch – Replacement new signings Mehdi Benatia and Juan Bernat have performed brilliantly in their new colours and will not surrender their place without a fight. The man from Morocco has developed a deadly understanding with Jerome Boateng, and solid performances prove that he is the right man to marshal the defence. The Spaniard, also, has been one of the transfer bargains of the season and has established himself as one of the best in the League!

In midfield, Sebastian Rode has made a strong case to be included in the starting 11, and looks ready to step for the tiring Xabi Alonso when called upon. The defensive midfielder has chipped in with 4 assists and 2 goals already, and his energy on the pitch is what any team would love to have. Ai??With Captain Philipp Lahm, fan favourites Javi Martinez and Thiago Alcantara also expected to return before the end of February, the problem becomes all the more confusing.

Considering these, Pep Guardiola needs to make a decision ai??i?? how to keep all players equally happy and how to rotate his squad efficiently. It is a nice problem to have, but a tough one to solve.

Improve transfer market presence and public image

Over the past couple of years, Bayern Munich havenai??i??t exactly been a very likeable club when it comes to activities in the transfer market. Luring Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski from Dortmund, although good business, did not help improve the image of the club. Now, with the Marco Reus saga going on, there doesnai??i??t seem to be a change in this perception.

Now, when no new players are needed, the clubs’ presence in the transfer market and public image could be improved.Ai??The Munich side recently tied down talented youngster Gianluca Gaudino to a new contract, which shows a focus of transfer market activities elsewhere – a better investment and public opinion of the the youth setups. With Danish youngster Martin Odegaard rumoured to want to sign for Bayern, this is the perfect opportunity for a ai???poster boyai??i?? to showcase that Bayern youth setups are still vital to the senior team. Loaning out a struggling Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, and giving up in the chase for Marco Reus will do wonders to the image of the club.

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