Are Bayern Munich in crisis?

It looked to have been a mere blimp in Bayern Munich’s season but picking up just one Bundesliga point from an available nine has raised questions around the Säbener Straße. A 1-1 draw against Bavarian rivals FC Augsburg was followed by a 2-0 defeat to Hertha Berlin and a 3-0 hammering against Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday evening.

Just one goal in three games isn’t your typical Bayern Munich. This is an elite European club that has won six consecutive Bundesliga titles and if things don’t change imminently, there could be real problems ahead. Continue reading

Have Bayern Munich had a poor transfer window?

bayern-munich-kingsley-coman_3766728

With just weeks remaining in the Germany transfer window, there’s a sense around the Bundesliga that the champions haven’t quite recruited as well as many predicted. With Serge Gnabry returning from a loan spell at Hoffenheim and Leon Goretzka joining on a free transfer from Schalke, there’s a strong argument suggesting that Bayern have had a poor summer.

Granted, Bayern Munich once again dominated the league after they finished 21 points ahead of closest challengers Schalke but teams around them have strengthened immensely, while Niko Kovac’s side perhaps have not.

Under new management, Borussia Dortmund lost Andriy Yarmolenko, Sokratis, Gonzalo Castro and Andre Schurrle who all had mediocre campaigns while they’ve added to their squad with the arrivals of Abdou Diallo, Thomas Delaney and Axel Witsel, all of whom will strengthen areas that had come under criticism last season. Should Favre & Co. add a striker to their squad in the closing weeks, then there’s no reason as to why they can’t challenge Bayern Munich this season.

Schalke have strengthened their squad even with the departures of Max Meyer and Goretzka, both on free transfers. Salif Sane arrives in Gelsenkirchen from Hannover to shore up Schalke’s impressive defence while they’ve added Mark Uth from Hoffenheim on a free transfer, who scored 14 Bundesliga goals last season. Both players add further experience to Schalke’s squad while the duo will likely slot straight into Domenico Tedesco’s starting XI. Add to that the signings of Suat Serdar, Omar Mascarell and Hamza Mendyl, it’s fair to suggest that the Royal Blues have had an impressive summer window.

Elsewhere, while Bayer Leverkusen have added Germany right-back Mitchell Weiser and 18-year-old Brazilian Paulinho to the squad for a combined £26 million, Heiko Herrlich and sporting director Rudi Völler have done well to keep Julian Brandt, Kai Havertz and Leon Bailey at the club, all of whom had been linked with a move to the Premier League.

Lastly, with both Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig also boasting a relatively impressive summer transfer window while keeping hold of their key players, it’s fair to suggest that Bayern Munich may just have a bit of competition this season as their look to retain their Bundesliga crown.

Given Bayern Munich’s stature, they’re not afraid of spending €40 million on a player and with Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge suggesting that they spend €100m on a player should the right one become available, it comes as a surprise to some fans that they haven’t splashed out as many had hoped.

Even more so given that Franck Ribery nor Arjen Robben are getting any younger. There’s no denying the duo have been Bayern’s most consistent players over the past 5-10 seasons but there comes a point in life when it’s time to move on. With Champions League football and a good cup run on the agenda, it’s highly unlikely they’ll be able to play on a Saturday and then again midweek, which provides Kovac with a problem.

They appear to be short in the wide areas and it comes as no surprise that fans were disappointed when Bayern Munich sold Douglas Costa to Juventus. The Brazil international is just the wide player that the Allianz Arena outfit should be looking to keep, with Kinglsey Coman and Gnabry used intermittently. Of course, the deal for Alphonso Davies to join the Bundesliga champions in January is a smart move, but just 18 when he joins Bayern, he’s another player who isn’t yet in his prime which could prove costly in vital fixtures.

Add to that the departure of Arturo Vidal and potential transfer of Sebastian Rudy to either RB Leipzig or Schalke, Bayern Munich also look short in midfield, with James Rodriguez, Thiago, Javi Martinez and Corentin Tolisso the only viable options, with Renato Sanches yet to prove his worth.

Reports also suggest there’s also a deal in place for World Cup winner Benjamin Pavard to join Bayern Munich in 2019, but they really should be looking to make that move this window, given the poor form of Jerome Boateng while the Frenchman can also provide cover for Joshua Kimmich at right-back.

And thus, it comes as no surprise that Bayern Munich fans feel rather disappointed with how this transfer window has gone. The signing of Leon Goretzka was a statement of intent but failure to act on that could prove costly for the reigning champions with their rivals strengthening in key areas.

Do you have what it takes to challenge the best Fantasy Football Managers? If you’re up to challenging the best then play www.fantasybundes.com now!

Bayern Munich must spend big as they enter transition

What not so long ago looked like being a dismal season for Bayern Munich could yet turn out to be an historic one. 17 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga, the Bavarians are set for a sixth successive league title, with Jupp Heynckes also leading his side to the semi-finals of the DFB Pokal. What’s more, they are in the quarter finals of the Champions League and, after being paired with Sevilla, should be plotting a course for the semis.

Heynckes has restored Bayern Munich’s swagger since his return from retirement earlier in the season. They had become unsure of themselves under Carlo Ancelotti, falling well short of the level that is expected of the great Bavarian side. Now, things look to be heading in the right direction again. Continue reading

Pressure Mounts on Arsene Wenger

wenger-arsene-arsenal_3412029

Arsenal have had nineteen attempts at winning the Champions League under Arsene Wenger and after last nights abysmal performance in Germany, it looks like this is the end of this seasons European campaign.

It took Bayern Munich just 11 minutes to open the scoring against Arsenal when Arjen Robben’s shot from outside the penalty area slotted in to the top corner. Arsenal then managed to survive wave after wave of Bayern attacks and were awarded a penalty on one of their few ventures outside their own half.

Sanchez contrived to miss the penalty, although a wonderful finish on the follow-up meant that Arsenal would go in at half-time level on goals and with a belief that they could actually take something from this match despite looking completely out of their depth.

The second half was a completely different story though. Bayern Munich were ruthless in attack and totally dominated possession. Goals from Robert Lewandowski, a double from Thiago Alcantara and a late goal from Thomas Muller has all but wrapped this tie up. Arsenal’s defence was shambolic and it could easily have been seven for Bayern Munich had it not been for Ospina in the Arsenal goal.

This was Arsenal’s nineteenth attempt at the Champions League under Arsene Wenger, and the closest they have come to winning the trophy was a final appearance in 2006 against Barcelona when they lost 2-1. They were an agonising 14 minutes from being crowned Champions in that season and despite having to play most of the game with 10 men after Jens Leham saw red after 18 minutes they put in a dogged and determined performance. Barcelona’s superiority shone through in the end with goals from Samuel Eto’o and then Juliano Belletti breaking the Gunners hearts. It’s looking likely that Arsene Wenger will never get as good a chance as that night to lift the trophy that he craves so much.

Their record in the knock-out stages of this competition is dire to say the least and they have gone out at the same stage in each of the last seven seasons and if they can’t find a way to combat the ‘big guns’ of European football this will be their level for the foreseeable future.

It’s back to FA Cup action with a tie against Sutton United this weekend, however with a crucial game against Liverpool in the Premier League looming large, a game which could see Liverpool leapfrog Arsenal and put them into fifth place, the pressure is mounting on Arsene Wenger to deliver.

Try your managerial skills at fantasy football at www.eurofantasyleague.com

Manage your favourite Premier League players at www.fantasy-premier.com

 

Bayern Munich host Benfica in the Champions League in tricky encounter

German league leaders Bayern Munich will play host to Portuguese league leaders Benfica on Tuesday in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals.

On paper, the Bundesliga champions will be favorites but assuming Bayern will go through from this tie should not be taken for granted. Italian champions Juventus exposed Bayern’s clumsy and susceptible defensive line and Juve striker Alvaro Morata was able to run circle around the Bavarian defenders in Munich.

330829-bayern-munich700

Another concern for Bayern is the fact Arjen Robben will most likely miss the first game in Munich. While Bayern can compensate for his absence, particularly with the return of Frenchman Franck Ribéry and the presence of young compatriot Kingsley Coman, the team’s manager Pep Guardiola would most likely prefer to have Robben with his added experience and his uncanny ability to get foul calls.

In addition, it would be wrong to focus on Bayern without mentioning a few pillars of the squad, including the club’s top scorer Robert Lewandowski, midfield terrier Arturo Vidal and German star Thomas Müller. Austrian defender David Alaba, who can also operate in midfield, is another name to keep an eye on.

rsz_arturo-vidal-arsenal-will-see-the-real-bayern-munich

 

The big names and the great exposure given to Bayern Munich should not take away any credit from current Primeira Liga leaders Benfica and their pool of talented players. In attack, Portuguese top league scorer Jonas Gonçalves Oliveira  is having the best season of his career and the veteran is supported by Greek striker Kostas Mitroglou. Between them, the attacking tandem has managed to score an impressive 47 league goals this season!

Another player to keep an eye on is midfielder Nicolás Gaitán who has scored 4 goals and provided 3 assists in 7 Champions League starts this season.

This should be an interesting battle between two teams on top of their respective league, yet the history, the players at Guardiola’s disposal and Bayern’s experience tip the balance in the Bavarian team’s favor. However, nothing can be taken for granted! Tune in on Tuesday, April 5th, 2015 to find out what the final score will be and remember you can follow the result of the game live by clicking here.

Why would Manchester United sign Bayern Munich’s Arjen Robben?

417218-louis-van-gaal-walks700

Manchester United are being increasingly linked with Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben, with reports suggesting a £20M move could be in the offing in the January transfer window. United manager Louis van Gaal has recently cited the need for more pace and creativity in the wider areas, but there are many reasons Robben wouldn’t be the best fit for the Red Devils, so why would Manchester United want to sign him?

It’s not the first time the Dutchman has been linked with a move to Old Trafford, and with former Netherlands manager Van Gaal currently in charge in the North-West, it’s not a surprise to see the rumour mill in full force again. Robben was meant to be one of the marquee signings made in Van Gaal first season at United, but it was former Real Madrid midfielder Angel Di Maria who was their biggest import in 2014.

Reports have suggest discontentment between Robben and teammate Robert Lewandowski, but still a move away from the Allianz-Arena seems highly unlikely for the Dutch winger. He turns 32 in January, so has little to no resale value if United were to sign him, let alone how much his wages would set the club back. Robben is a known injury risk, and would want contractual protection as a result.

Signing a player with his track record for muscle problems would be a suicidal move by the scouting team, especially considering how many other players they could sign for the same amount of money and receive many more years of uninterrupted service. Southampton’s Sadio Mane was subject of a bit from United in the summer, and a renewal of interest is expected when January comes around.

Mane has lit up the Premier League in his short time at St Mary’s, but looks a player with a bright career ahead of him, rather than being in the eve of his career like Robben. There are certainly many more like the Saints winger that Van Gaal will be considering, making it all less likely that Robben is on the shortlist.

Defensive contribution is one key attribute Van Gaal asks of his players, and one area Robben has notoriously struggled in throughout his career. Many will argue the Dutchman successfully operated as makeshift striker under Van Gaal in the 2014 World Cup, but playing him in such a position for United would not only tread on the toes of Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial, but defeats the point of signing a known winger.