There’s a good chance Bayern Munich are finally done adding players, but the arrivals of Mario Götze & Thiago Alcantara raise a lot of questions regarding the tactics Pep Guardiola is planning to use, and the future use and roles of Javi Martinez, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos, Thomas Muller, Arjen Robben and Mario Mandzukic.
A lot of the answers depend on whether or not Guardiola is going to stick with Jupp Heynckes’ tactics and preferences, and even if there’s going to be one starting lineup. Guardiola used the 3-4-3 system quite a lot in Barcelona, which is why many tend to think Javi Martinez will be dropped down to centre back, and play alongside Dante when the team is in a more organized form of defense, and push forward as another defensive midfielder during Bayern Munich attacks.
While tinkering with something perfect isn’t the wisest thing to do, something has to be changed. If Barcelona have taught as anything over the last few years, is that even the most pleasing of systems, and successful on the way, have to be changed and upgraded over the years.
So how much will Guardiola change? His recent media remarks might show that there’s quite a bit of ego to the man, which means we’ll see a lot of different looks to a team that simply ran over the Bundesliga and most of Europe last season, but the familiarity factor, that was on Bayern’s side thanks to most of the players being next to one another for quite a few years, is not something to be taken lightly.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see Gotze himself playing a less meaningful role than he did for Dortmund. After all, Barcelona didn’t play with a classic attacking midfielder, and Guardiola might keep it that way. What is interesting is the striker question. Mario Mandzukic was kept on the team, but Mario Gomez was sold and Claudio Pizarro isn’t a serious threat to the first team in any case. Will we see a false 9 scheme come into action?
Mario Gotze might fill that role, but this might also be something Thomas Muller spends a lot of time doing, or even Franck Ribery, although in a slightly different, maybe improved variation of it.
There’s also the wings question, which probably works a bit differently than it did last season. As we saw in the Champions League final, the wingers for the previous Bayern system work quite a lot on the defensive end, interchanging and swapping positions with David Alaba and Philipp Lahm. While Robben isn’t usually consistent in his defensive work, not promising him a spot in the lineup, like last season tunred out to be, might bring out the best of him – constantly with a need to prove something to the team.
It’s hard to see Bayern as anything but huge favorites to win the Bundesliga once more, even if Dortmund have made all the right moves during the summer, including keeping (so far) Robert Lewandowski, while Barcelona added Neymar and Real Madrid seem to be intent on signing Spanish wonderkids instead of the most expensive players available. Guardiola has only titles to lose, or retain, but the way he manages to craft and weave through an abundance of talent and ego early on will tell us just how good of a choice Bayern made by bringing him back from his sabbatical.