After a terrific Hinrunde of Bundesliga football, Bayern Munich began their Winter break with great morale, and after three friendly games in Doha, Riyadh and Bochum, the Bavarians look to start 2015 from where they left off. The month long training camp has benefited the whole team in general, but here are the biggest winners from the preparatory month of January:
1. Mitchell Weiser
The perpetual will-he-won’t-he enigma of German football. Signed from Koln in 2012 as a bright prospect, Weiser’s development had stagnated completely and made just 4 league appearances since, making people wonder what all the fuss was 3 years ago. Now, the 20 year old is starting to prove doubters wrong with commendable performances against Qatar XI and Al-Hilal. The winger-cum-fullback was involved in 4 out of the 8 goals scored, and after a barren 2 years at Munich, his confidence will be soaring. With heavy competition from other youngsters as well, Weiser’s contribution in the Ruckrunde will depend on how well he carries on with his current form and state of mind.
2. Holger Badstuber
Perhaps the unluckiest player in World football. Since late 2012, Holger Badstuber has played just 3 Bundesliga games for Bayern, having suffered 3 ACL tears and 1 thigh muscle tear. However, his comeback perfectly coincided with the end of league football, for the Bayern man to concentrate on his fitness and get some valuable playing time. With Mehdi Benatia still nursing a back problem; Javi Martinez, an ACL tear; the time is perfect for the mature and talented Badstuber to cement his place in the team once again as a regular, and to show the world that he is one of the best defenders in the business.
Glimpses of his old self again. The decline of Dante ever since the beginning of 2014 has been rather alarming. Individual errors and lack of motivation led to the once reliable defender being dropped by Pep Guardiola for majority of the 2014-15 season. After chipping in with 2 impressive goals and some great long balls in the friendly games, the Brazilian looked visibly pleased with himself, which is surely a sign that he has gotten past a horrendous summer in Brazil, and will try his best to prevent Badstuber from marching into the starting 11 without a fight.
4. Sinan Kurt
The next Marco Reus? Signed from the Monchengladbach reserves last summer, 18 year old Sinan Kurt hasn’t yet made a senior competitive appearance for the Reds, but flashes of his brilliance for the U-19 side and recently, in the Winter friendlies, show that Kurt could be a superstar in the making. Having come off the bench in all 3 games, he never looked like an 18 year old making his first appearance for the senior team. Instead, quick feet, confident movement and great link-up play prove that he is in fact ready to compete at the top level for the first team. Although, he did not end up with goals for himself, his contribution on and off the ball leave Bayern Munich fans buzzing with pride about the player who could possibly become the next Marco Reus.
With all this said, all four players would be brimming with confidence and ready to start the second half of the season on high against second placed Wolfsburg on the 30th of this month. Despite additional challenges to come in the Champions League as well, Pep Guardiola’s side should have their sights set firmly on the treble this season.