It would be obvious to state that Bayern Munich outscored Augsburg in the Bavarian derby on matchday 24 in a 5-3 goalscoring fest. However, that would be the only way to describe the performance of the league leaders. Defensively, the Rekordmeister looked vulnerable and mistake-ridden.
This was a complete contrast to their attacking display, in which they oozed class and quality to dismantle an Augsburg defence continuously depleting in confidence as the game went on. On another day, a better side would have taken advantage of the opportunities presented to them by Bayern. So, why has this game highlighted the important summer ahead?
Bayern Munich’s defensive frailties
One poor defensive display is not a disaster for Julian Nagelsmann to deal with. When remembering how Borussia Mönchengladbach were able to dance their way through the Bayern backline, heads started to get scratched at the Allianz Arena. As the saying goes, ‘fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me’, and shame certainly will be on the record champions.
It seems almost certain that Benjamin Pavard will be on his way out of Bavaria in the summer, as well as Daley Blind, whose contract is up at the end of the season. These are two outgoings that Bayern quite simply need to replace. Blind has not looked at the level required since he joined from Ajax in January, and it was quite clear that this signing was a short-term approach to the injury of Lucas Hernandez. However, Pavard has made at least 20 appearances or more in the Bundesliga since joining from Stuttgart in 2019.
Therefore, the departure of Pavard will leave Bayern with a void to fill. The back three would almost make itself with Hernandez, Matthijs De Ligt and Dayot Upamecano. However, this season, more than any season, has shown how rotation is pivotal for Bayern. The competition in the Bundesliga is as high as it has been for over a decade. A decade Bayern have dominated. However, there was a time where the title race looked as though it could have consisted of six sides.
Bayern have been able to withstand sides such as Eintracht Frankfurt and Union Berlin, despite injuries plaguing their season. However, next season could be different. Josip Stanišić proved his quality against PSG in the Champions League, but his game time has been few and far between. He is a significantly versatile option for Bayern, and someone that they should be putting more faith into. However, another option for the back three would be needed in order for their dominance to continue, as this is the area they have looked the most vulnerable.
Is there deadwood in the attack?
The depth Bayern have in their attack is quite simply frightening. There is not a player that lacks the quality needed to play for the Rekordmeister. However, there are players in the attack that do lack the consistency required of them. The main culprit of this is Serge Gnabry. He was substituted after 70 minutes against Augsburg on Saturday and you would be forgiven for thinking he has even been playing.
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting has proven he has the ability to play as an understudy for one of Europe’s best sides. His goalscoring antics have silenced any critics he has amassed over the years. However, Gnabry has failed to prove he can play as a number 9 for Bayern – a position he has demanded to be playing in since joining from Werder Bremen in 2017.
While he has not proved to be able to hold down a consistent role in the striker slot, he has lost out on his place on the wing. The long list of attacking talent Bayern have collected over the last few seasons have denied Gnabry of a guaranteed place in the side. It’s difficult to drop Sadio Mané when fit and Jamal Musiala has arguably been their best player this campaign.
Undoubtedly Bayern will look for a world-class number 9 for next season with their main target being Harry Kane. Whether they look to ship a player on to help fund their main man will yet to be seen. However, is an offer would come in for Gnabry, they may look at selling for the right price.
Bayern Munich must recruit well in the summer
The competition in the Bundesliga is making it one of the most exciting leagues to watch in Europe. With so many sides challenging within European competitions too, the money flooding into the league will be at an all-time high. Squads will improve and they will look to hunt down Bayern. Players need to be brought in and this summer looks to be the time to do it.
Yann Sommer may last for another campaign while they fund the incoming of a striker, Noussair Mazraoui could be the player to rotate with Kingsley Coman, who has made the right wingback slot his own. Whether it be outgoings or incomings, Bayern will have a busy summer and the game against Augsburg has shone some light on who may leave and who needs to come in.
GGFN | Will Shopland