While looking ahead to the new season, often expectations and predictions are marred with a clear bias. Every supporter thinks that either it’s their year or at the very least that they will fare better than one or more of their rivals. Keeping that in mind, we thought it would be interesting to see what rival supporters think of a team’s chances in the 2014-15 season.
This particular piece has Alan Pfahl, Brendan Bernegger, Constantin Eckner, and Dever Webb from our Dortmund Blog, Echte Liebe, discussing Bayern Munich ahead of the 2014-15 season.
What are Bayern Munich’s objectives this season?
Alan: Competitively they will again be going for the triple titles they accomplished in 2013. They also will carefully orchestrate a campaign to unsettle Borussia Dortmund regarding the status of Marco Reus.However, their goals extend much beyond that. They are determined to become a worldwide brand like Manchester United and Real Madrid, hence their new US office, American tour etc.
Brendan: Obviously to recapture the triple. Anything else would be seen as below par.
Constantin: Bayern Munich want to win everything every season. Anything less than the triple will be a disappointment. Moreover, they are aiming to maintain their gap on Dortmund and Schalke.
Dever: Bayern don’t exactly have to build on anything. When you’ve won the Bundesliga two seasons in a row, the treble two seasons ago, and the DFB-Pokal two seasons in a row; what do you shoot for? Obviously, Bayern want to win the treble again, and they are more than capable of doing so.
I think Bayern (scarily) may be on the verge of looking to develop some younger talent, which is rather unusual for them and could spell doom for many other clubs in the Bundesliga and around all of Europe for that matter.
How do you think Bayern Munich will do this season?
Alan: They will likely win the Bundesliga and DFB Pokal, and be a semi-finalist in the Champions League.
Brendan: As always, Bayern are great favorites coming into the season and they will most likely take the title.
Constantin: Bayern will most likely win the domestic championship and they could also reach the Champions League final.
One could and should expect Bayern to finish either 1st or 2nd in the table. The only team that has what it takes to even present a challenge to them is BVB. Realistically, Bayern are the favorites to take home the trophy, but Dortmund have made the necessary signings to help push them back into Championship contention.
Again, they will be expected to emerge as the cup winners. Unless BVB and Bayern meet prior to the cup final, they should have no problem advancing to the finals. If we have another Der Klassiker cup final…I see the victor coming from whoever has a worse Champions League run and/or Bundesliga season.
FC Bayern will not be the favorites to win the UCL title. However, they will be expected to go very far in the tournament. Of course, Bayern supporters will not be happy not winning the title, but they should be pleased with a semi-final spot.
Who do you think will be Bayern Munich’s key player?
Alan: Toni Kroos – just kidding. I am going to stick with the aging ArjenRobben. He makes things happen and one or two pieces of individual brilliance is all it takes to win tightly contested games. Manuel Neuer will also have an increasing impact after his stellar performance at the World Cup.
Brendan: It has to be Mario Gotze. He is the future of this club, and now that Toni Kroos has departed he will get his chance to become a leader.
Constantin: If he can stay fit, Thiago Alcántara will control the game’s rhythm in Bayern’s midfield. Thiago can replace Toni Kroos and he offers more agility in the centre. Guardiola will ask him to orchestrate the initial build-up. Additionally, the 23-year-old can open spaces by dynamically falling back to the left or right and he can gather up loose balls and is able to release his dribbling qualities against counter pressing. Thiago is a truly great playmaker.
Dever: I think a lot of people would say Lahm, Muller, or Schweinsteiger, or any type of playmaking midfielder or forward. As important as those players and positions are, there is only one player that Bayern Munich cannot afford to lose. Manuel Neuer.
I would define a key player as someone that is invaluable to the team and that would make the team significantly worse without their presence. For me, that player is Neuer, the best GK in the world.
What is Bayern Munich’s biggest weakness?
Alan: Typically with a club that has accomplished so much you could say motivation would be a problem, but I don’t see it with this group and with this coach. They still seem to have plenty of hunger. Based on how he finished last season and his disastrous play against Germany at the World Cup I would say Dante is the biggest weakness on the pitch. Dortmund has identified him as a weak link and when they take away his options he gives the ball away and makes bad decisions.
Brendan: The fact that both Jerome Boateng and Dante are often inconsistent at the back.
Constantin: Real Madrid has shown how you can beat Bayern. Their incisive passing football can be dismantled by cutting off the passing lanes. Luka Modrić and Xabi Alonso cast large cover shadows in the centre. The wingers cut off the wings or supported the full-back in isolating Bayern on the wing. Many balls were won from intercepted passes and the intercepting player freed himself quickly and prohibited Bayern’s typical counter pressing.
Dever: I honestly don’t have a good answer for this question. They are beyond extremely talented and have no physical weakness on the pitch. Their biggest weakness may come from the ability of Guardiola to build cohesion amongst the squad. Tottenham suffered from this last season. They have such depth and nearly every position that there could be a different starting XI every match.
When you have players that deserve to play every game and they don’t; eventually, that starts eating at the player and can cause tension between teammates. Also, to that point, when those players aren’t playing together in every match, that can severely affect the timing, flow, mentality, and all the intricate details involved.
What do you think of Pep Guardiola as a coach? Could he lose his job this season or in the aftermath of it?
Alan: Surely Guardiola is one of the best coaches out there. He is a hard-working perfectionist and probably the world’s best technical coach. I don’t think Bayern could have a season poor enough to cost him his job in 2014-15. His weakness may lie in communication…if a couple Bayern stars start feeling about Pep like Zlatan Ibrahimovic did a few years back that could spell trouble for both the team and for Guardiola personally.
Brendan: If he doesn’t win the Champions League, he could be put under fire and get the sack.
Constantin: Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge stated: “Bayern will never dismiss Pep Guardiola.” As a consequence, Guardiola could only resign of his own accord, if he will not accomplish objectives. But he is a genius regarding possession philosophy and in-game adjustments. Guardiola stands for a certain philosophy and the Spaniard tries to perfect this style of play.
Dever: No job is safe in football. There could be many different scenarios that could result in Pep’s termination. Obviously, if Bayern were to finish the Bundesliga in 5th place, he’d be gone before the end of season. But, that won’t happen. Let’s say though, Bayern finish 3rd in the table, bow out early in the Pokal, and lose in the first knockout stage of UCL; that clearly is not the standard set for FC Bayern. I’m sure results like that wouldn’t be tolerated by the front office.
As far as Pep as a coach, obviously, he’s good at his job or he wouldn’t be where he is. Do I like him? No! I think he is extremely arrogant and doesn’t really have to ‘coach’. He has some of the best players in the world and can sometimes rely just on their raw ability as footballers.
Which young Talent Radar player do you see making the maximum impact?
Alan: I guess it would have to be Juan Bernat from Valencia, but with a roster as stacked as Bayern Munich’s is, I don’t really see any new player having a huge impact during the coming season.
Brendan: Juan Bernat. Will add depth to a sometime struggling defense. Personally, I’d like too see more of Julian Green but he is too young and there is too much competition in his postion.
Constantin: Pierre Emile Højbjerg is a great talent.He was originally designated as a centre midfielder. However, Guardiola fielded him as a wing-back at the last German cup final. At the right side, Højbjerg can offer more variety than Rafinha.
Dever: I don’t actually know that this will happen, but my hope is that it is Julian Green. As an American, I’m overly excited about the potential that Green has and the success he could bring to the future of USMNT.
I don’t think he has a lot more to prove for Bayern Munich II, but there isn’t really any room for him in the first team. I’m sure he’ll see some action this season and show everyone that he has something to offer on the big stage.
What do you think of Bayern Munich’s transfer activity? Who has been the best acquisition?
Alan: It doesn’t get any better than acquiring the world’s best striker on a free transfer, so it has to be Robert Lewandowski. The striker position was one of the few (relative) weaknesses on the roster last year. Robo-Robert is an upgrade on Mario Mandzukic.
Brendan: Robert Lewandowski. Getting the league leading scorer and a world class player on a free transfer from a rival, as sweet as it gets.
Constantin: Without a doubt, Robert Lewandowski. Bayern signed a world class striker who fits perfectly in Guardiola’s system which requires versatile qualities and position-swapping.They acquired Bundesliga’s top goalscorer. As if this was not enough, Bayern Munich got Lewandowski on a free transfer from their biggest rival.
Dever: Really, there is only one name that needs to be mentioned here. Lewandowski. Lewy reaches a new peak every time he steps on the pitch. As if Bayern weren’t scary enough as it is, they now have one of the best strikers in the world. I don’t think it would be a surprise to anyone if Lewy took home the Golden Boot again.
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