Now 11 games into the Bundesliga season, Bayern Munich sit fifth in the table. A club left shocked and surprised by Saturday’s 3-2 loss to title rivals Borussia Dortmund, Niko Kovač and his team have a lot of work to do. Something has changed at Bayern, a once dominant team looks weaker than ever, struggling on a weekly basis. These struggle’s point towards the one thing, it’s time for changes at Bayern, big changes.
It’s Time for Change at Bayern Munich
An ageing team, this Bayern Munich squad needs to head in a new direction. Fresh faces, younger players, it’s time to move on. In their current squad, Bayern have several key players who will still be playing a key role in the future. However, this current team also has many names who simply don’t have a future with the Bavarian club.
Who Should Stay
Current and Future Leaders
A key player under Pep Guardiola, Carlo Ancelotti and Jupp Heynckes, Neuer has been a permanent fixture in the Bayern team for years. One of the greatest goalkeepers of his generation, Neuer has struggled of late, for both club and country. Rumoured to be on his way out in the near future, Bayern would do well to keep the giant German. Within the club, one name keeps popping up when people discuss Neuer’s future. Youth product Christian Früchtl is seen as the heir to Neuer’s throne at Bayern, however, the 18-year-old should be considered the future, not an option for today.
Known for being one of the most talented, versatile players in the world, Kimmich will be a key player at Bayern for many years to come. Capable of playing multiple positions, the Philipp Lahm clone has the makings of a future club captain. Kimmich should stay, with the full-back only 23 and under contract until 2023.
Still only 23, Süle is seen as a future star centre-back at the club. Under contract until 2022, he’s currently third-choice at his position, behind Jérôme Boateng and Mats Hummels. A natural leader, Süle will remain at the club long-term, with a starting role only a matter of time for the commanding German.
One of Bayern’s most valuable players so far this season, Spanish midfielder Thiago plays a key role when healthy. Playing the deep-lying role in the Bayern midfield, Thiago is an important player for Kovač, helping create chances for the likes of Thomas Müller and Robert Lewandowski. Rumoured to be leaving the club last summer, Bayern should do everything they can to keep the 27-year-old.
Three newcomers to the Bayern squad, it’s difficult to see these this trio departing the club. Under Kovač, Goretzka has continued to develop, becoming a goalscoring threat from midfield. Suffering a devastating injury just three games into the new Bundesliga season, Tolisso was set to play a key role in this campaign. The world cup winning Frenchman will be back in 2019, with a starting role likely waiting for him. Since leaving Arsenal, Gnabry has made significant strides towards becoming the player Arsenal thought he would be. If the versatile wide-man continues at this rate, he could become a key player in Munich.
The Team’s Most Valuable Player
Since joining Bayern Munich on a free transfer back in 2014, Lewandowski has become arguably the world’s deadliest number nine. Scoring goals for fun in the Bundesliga, the Polish striker is a must keep despite the clubs troubles lately. With links to Real Madrid always lingering over him, Lewandowski is entering the final few peak years of his career, those years will be crucial to Bayern’s success going forward.
Who Should Go
Mats Hummels and Jérôme Boateng
Hummels and Boateng; two players who have been struggling since the World Cup. Failing to rediscover their old form, the German duo have barely kept their starting places this season, with Kovač giving the younger Süle more opportunities to impress. Age and confidence play a key role here, as both players have dropped off around 30 years of age. As their struggles continue, confidence is running low, with mistakes almost expected. One of these two won’t be at Bayern next season, but it’s unlikely we see both jump ship next summer.
Ribéry and Robben are old, it’s that simple. Two players who should have moved on years ago, Bayern’s lack of decisiveness has cost them in the long run. Neither player will be at the club next year, with both players out of contract in the summer. To replace two club legends, Bayern will look to Gnabry, an injury-prone Kingsley Coman and the soon to arrive Alphonso Davies. Conservative in the transfer market recently, Bayern have the funds to go out and find a quality option in either January or next summer. Along with Lewandowski, Bayern relies heavily on good play from both wings, so finding quality options moving forward will be key to the clubs future success.
Loan Spell Gone Wrong
Since joining Bayern on a two-year loan deal from Real Madrid, Rodríguez has been effective but not comfortable. Yet to make an impression under Kovač, the Colombian star appears to be unsettled, with a return to Madrid looking more and more likely. Dropped for Saturday’s 3-2 loss to Dortmund, Rodríguez didn’t even make it off the bench in Bayern’s biggest game of the season. A key player last season, it’s unlikely we ever see the best version of Rodríguez under Kovač at Bayern.