Last season’s Bayern Munich looked as close as possible to a perfect, or complete team. The arrival of Mario Götze certainly makes them stronger, but the position he plays in sure makes it quite difficult to predict how Bayern will line up next season, and what players will be the ones paying the price for the expensive new arrival.
Last season, Jupp Heynckes preferred playing with Toni Kroos as the attacking midfielder, with Franck Ribery and Thomas Müller on the wings. Arjen Robben was injured and later relegated to the bench, but propelled back up after Kroos was injured in the final stages of the season.
So Robben took over the right wing spot, while Müller shifted to the middle (in truth, the 23 year-old can play pretty much every position up front) and Ribery remained on the left, but it was all in a very fluid way. Mario Mandžukić, taking over the striker spot, is a lot more mobile and versatile than Mario Gomez, dropping lower many times, allowing space for Müller and Robben to push into the middle.
Götze is an attacking midfielder, but has played out wide for Dortmund on numerous occasions, pulling to the middle once he gets the ball on the wing. Still, he’s at his best at the 10 spot, and that brings up a lot of questions regarding Bayern’s tactics next season, with Pep Guardiola bound to make some changes.
Guardiola is coming in to mess with a perfect plan and system, that has reached two Champions League finals in two year. A 4-2-3-1 system (although you can call it in other names if you simply refer to each line differently), which simply got upgraded in terms of personnel before the 2012-2013 season – Dante as centre back, Javi Martinez as defensive midfielder and Mario Mandžukić as striker.
For now, Bayern haven’t messed around too much with the formula. Ribery, Robben, Miller and Kroos are all staying, not to mention Xherdan Shaqiri waiting to get some more minutes, while Mario Gomez would like to see himself playing a little bit more than what he did last season.
There are those who think Guardiola will introduce the false ‘9’ system to Bayern, which means Thomas Müller, Mario Gotze or Franck Ribery will play as the most forward player, while Guardiola will move players around him. It seems that the only solid spots and players from the midfield up are Javi Martinez and Bastian Schweinsteiger, although Toni Kroos can play in a more regressive role than he did for most of last season.
There’s a good chance there won’t be one consistent lineup. With so many matches to play next season, Bayern will probably be using its rotation a bit more, while two or three players can be a bit more confident that their names will always be in the first XI as long as they’re healthy. Even if Mario Götze cost €37 million, it doesn’t make him an automatic starter right off the bat, unless Guardiola isn’t arriving with too much patience to give others a chance.