In a season which has seen the reigning Bundesliga champions struggle, Bayern Munich’s biggest problem has arguably been their defence. Since the team’s shock 3-1 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt in the DFB-Pokal final, team regulars Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng have struggled massively. Carrying their poor form into the World Cup in Russia, the once-dominant duo continue to struggle as we head into 2019. This has sparked rumours of big changes in the Bayern back-four. We will take a look at three routes the team can take to put the reigning champions in a much better place moving forward.
Bayern Munich’s Centre-Back Options Moving Forward
The Sensible Route
When it comes to spending and recruiting new players, one word to describe Bayern as a club is sensible. One solution to their defensive problems is French World Cup winner Benjamin Pavard. Costing €35 million, Pavard is a quality, versatile option for Bayern. Capable of playing both right-back and centre-back, Pavard is still only 23-years-old and has a reasonable release clause for Bayern to trigger in the summer. Now, Pavard would be a fresh face in the Bayern squad, a squad that has some untapped potential.
Lars Lukas Mai is a young centre-back who could play a role in the team’s rotation moving forward. Only 18-years-old, Mai is a physical specimen. Mai is 6’3” and looks like a weight-lifter, reminding some of a young Niklas Süle. Tall and strong, Mai has tons of potential, but the young German needs game-time. If the team moves on from either Boateng or Hummels, Mai would be an ideal addition to the team’s rotation.
Go Big on Matthijs de Ligt
Nine points behind league leaders Borussia Dortmund heading into Matchday 15, it’s fair to say being sensible isn’t good enough. Now, Bayern haven’t spent like the other big clubs in Europe. That means there’s plenty in the Bayern piggy bank heading into next summer. As both Boateng and Hummels continue to struggle, it’s time to go big or go home. By far the most talented centre-back prospect in the world right now is Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt. The Dutch international has already made an impact for both club and country, despite only being 19-years-old.
Linked with the world’s biggest clubs, Bayern will likely face tough opposition if they try to sign the dominant Dutchman. Costing anyone who signs him at least €60 million, de Ligt is in high demand. This would be a game-changing signing for Bayern. Landing a future superstar at centre-back is expensive but worth it in the long run. If Bayern are willing to spend the money and de Ligt wants the move, partnering him and Süle together could see the team recreate a potentially dominant duo at the back.
Stick With What You Have
This is a very risky option. It’s also the least likely of the three, but Bayern could stick with what got them here. Currently, the team have Boateng and Süle starting on a weekly basis, with Hummels on the bench. These are three centre-backs most teams would give anything to have due to their obvious quality. However, what makes this an unlikely route is the pressure the board and Sporting Director Hasan Salihamidžić are under. The team will spend in the summer, that much we know, but how much and what on is the question.
To put things bluntly, Hummels and Boateng have fallen off a cliff. The once dominant centre-back duo is on the verge of being replaced, with Boateng being linked with a move away and Hummels benched by manager Niko Kovač. If you believe reports, a deal for Pavard has already been agreed and is currently the worst kept secret in the entire Bundesliga. Change is definitely on the way in Bavaria, but nobody knows just how big those changes will be.