As a club, Bayern Munich set high standards for themselves. Towards the end of September and at the beginning of October, those standards were not being met. Dropping points in four successive games, manager Niko Kovač is under pressure. One of many reasons for Bayern’s poor form was injuries, something which continues to hold the team back.
Bayern Munich’s Injury Woes Continue
Winning their opening five games of the season, Bayern looked confident and assured on the pitch. Undefeated in all competitions, Kovač’s team were dealing with the loss of two key players. Just 45 minutes into the new season, Bayern lost Kingsley Coman to a long-term ankle ligament injury. This was a big loss, but Bayern had had the quality to survive, barring any more injuries. The Bavarian’s weren’t so lucky, losing key man Corentin Tolisso just three games into the new season. France’s World Cup winner was set to play a key role this season, but an anterior cruciate ligament injury sustained against Bayer Leverkusen will keep him out until 2019.
Slowly recovering from a turmoil filling a few weeks, Kovač and Bayern have rediscovered their winning touch. However, as a difficult season gets tougher, Munich will now be without another key man for the foreseeable future.
Thiago Set to Miss Der Klassiker
Arguably Bayern’s most consistent player this season, Thiago has been ruled out for several weeks with an ankle ligament injury. Forced off in the team’s 2-1 win against Rodinghausen on Tuesday, the Spanish midfielder faces a long spell on the sidelines. Set to miss games against Freiburg, AEK Athens and Fortuna Düsseldorf, he will also miss Bayern’s most important game of the season so far. Der Klassiker, also known as the “German Clasico” is the derby between Germany’s two most successful clubs in recent years. Table toppers Borussia Dortmund will host Bayern on November 10th.
Thiago’s absence is a big blow for Kovač, with a derby win crucial at this point in the season. With Thiago out for at least a month, Kovač will look to Leon Goretzka to carry the load in the Spaniard’s absence. Another player who could see more game time is Renato Sanches. Playing a small role so far this season, Sanches has played well when given the chance. The Bundesliga title race appears to be a two-horse race between the two clubs and Der Klassiker could go a long way in deciding who comes out on top come May 2019.
Key Injuries at the Wrong Time
So far, Bayern’s season has been ruined by injuries to key players. Losing Coman early on, Kovač has lacked options out wide. Franck Ribery, Serge Gnabry and Arjen Robben have all struggled with injuries at some point this season. A lack of continuity on the wings has cost them, with the team’s wide players playing such a key role. In January, Bayern will complete the signing of Canadian winger Alphonso Davies. The club has already confirmed Davies will be training with the first-team, despite only being 17-years-old. Davies is a raw talent who could play a role at some point during the second half of the season.
Currently second in the table, Bayern Munich have the quality to win the title once again. However, this will be their toughest season in recent memory, with injuries leaving the team at its weakest point in years. Kovač will keep his job, for now, but winning is all that matters, something which just got a lot tougher, with Thiago’s injury coming at exactly the wrong time.