August 20, 2022

All this movement in the transfer window has seen players come and go, but sometimes those players can’t fill the gaps left by their predecessors. It made us wonder: “Do Bayern Munich have the players for the positions that need replacements?” In this three-part series, we go through each part of the team and see what needs to be done or what can be done. We’ll discuss which locations need reinforcement, which players can be the reinforcement (current players first, then transfer targets) and which solution we think will be the most ideal.

Remarks:

1. Some players will appear in two categories because they are versatile enough to play in both areas.

2. The formation to be used is 4-2-3-1.

3. Young players are not included because they are relatively unproven and the article might be too long. Instead, feel free to suggest in the comments which young players should be included.


The defense (and the goalkeeper)

In the final installment of this three-part series, we take a look at the part of the team that could have prevented a bittersweet end to the season: Defense. Players who fall into this category are Alphonso Davies, Lucas Hernandez, Benjamin Pavard, Dayot Upamecano and newcomer Noussair Mazraoui. The future of Tanguy Nianzou and Chris Richards at the club is uncertain, but they will still be included as nothing has progressed in terms of discussions between the clubs and the player and/or the club. Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is also included but won’t be discussed as he is still fit.

Bayern scored 50 goals in all competitions last season, some of which were bad goals to concede, such as the 5-0 humiliation against Borussia Mönchengladbach in the DFB-Pokal and the 2-1 aggregate defeat against Villarreal in the Champions League. Bayern conceded 51 goals in 2019-20 but still won the treble. Do whatever you want with it.

Now we will look at the positions in the defense and see what the problems are, what can be done and what personnel are needed. Similar to part 1: center players followed by wide players.


Central Players (Central Defender)

Lucas Hernandez and Upamecano are Bayern’s default centre-backs
Photo by Roland Krivec/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

As in the first part of this series, the club has the necessary personnel for rotation/depth and defensive substitutions. Lucas Hernandez and Dayot Upamecano are normally the starting CBs, but both players have their own issues. Hernandez is prone to picking up knocks here and there and the occasional big injury, but otherwise the best CB Bayern have in their arsenal. On the other hand, Dayot Upamecano’s game is still not clean and seems shaky at times. Not to mention a Niklas Süle-sized hole in the back. Who do Bayern have as a back-up if these two can’t play? Let’s find out who.


Replacements (current culture)

Tanguy Nianzou

DSC Arminia Bielefeld - FC Bayern München - Bundesliga

Nianzou is still an unfinished product
Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

First on the list is French centre-back Tanguy Nianzou, who signed for Bayern in 2020 from Paris Saint-Germain. Nianzou had a rocky start but has since established himself as a promising candidate to be Bayern’s next best thing in the heart of defence. Nianzou has a good physique and is 1.91 meters or 6′ 3″ tall which means heading shouldn’t be a problem. The problem with Nianzou is that he is still a bit rough and tends to do rookie mistakes, such as his positioning which gave RB Salzburg a (consolation) goal in the 7-1 rout of the Austrian side in the Champions League Round of 16. He also has a knack for throwing himself into reckless challenges, at one point Bayern boss Julian Nagelsmann was cautioned after injuring Fabian Kunze, which ended the Arminia Bielefeld player’s involvement in the 3-0 defeat of the host in April (see photo above).


Benjamin Pavard

FC Bayern München - VfB Stuttgart - Bundesliga

Pavard is good or bad depending on which one appears in the games
Photo by Roland Krivec/vi/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

2018 World Cup winner and Bayern right-back Benjamin Pavard has been a mixed bag in recent memory. He’s either a rock or a ghost in defense, it’s a real knockout. Pavard initially played at center before being moved to right-back, but the arrival of Noussair Mazraoui grants the Frenchman a wish to return to centre-back.


chris richard

FC Bayern München - TSG Hoffenheim - Bundesliga

Richards had an impressive loan spell at Hoffenheim
Photo by Sebastian Widmann/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images

A product of FC Dallas who have a big future ahead of him, Chris Richards has spent the last two seasons on loan at TSG Hoffenheim and has looked impressive for the Sinsheim club. Many fans wanted to see the American defender play regularly for Bayern but maybe that’s not the case. French club Olympique Lyonnais are reportedly interested in Richards, but there are also rumors linking him with England and Spain. Should Bayern let him go or should they give him his deserved playing time with the first team?


Substitutions (transfer targets)

Gleison Bremer (Turin), Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus) and Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli)

The Serie A centre-back trio have emerged as an option to bolster Bayern’s defence. Koulibaly and Bremer are the most feasible options as both are cheaper (€35m) than de Ligt (over €70m). Koulibaly’s contract ends next year, while Bremer and de Ligt are under contract until 2024.


Wide Players (Wingbacks/Fullbacks)

FC Bayern Muenchen celebrate their Bundesliga victory

Davies is an important part of Bayern’s system
Photo by S. Mellar/FC Bayern via Getty Images

Alphonso Davies and Mazraoui will occupy the left and right sides of defense respectively, regardless of whether Nagelsmann plays three or four in defense. In the worst-case scenario, Bayern take on England’s Omar Richards or Hernandez on the left and put Pavard back at right-back.


final verdict

The default back line would be Davies-Hernandez-Upamecano-Mazraoui. However, if one of the centre-backs cannot play or Nagelsmann plays a back three, then one of Richards and Bremer or Koulibaly (assuming we sign someone) will slot in; Nianzou should be loaned out.


With Part 3 completed, this concludes this series. Thank you very much for reading all three parts of the series. For one last time: we want to hear it from you. Do you agree with our assessment? Did we miss anyone? Would you suggest anything else? Let us know in the comments!