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FC Bayern Munich
Posted by Susie Schaaf on 01/24/2011

This entry was going to be titled: The Best Defence Is a Good Attack?

Although Bayern managed an important and emphatic 5-1 victory over Kaiserslautern on Saturday, troubles remain in the amount of scoring chances we are allowing opposing teams. Breno and Badstuber will take a bit to gel, and newcomer from Hoffenheim, Luiz Gustavo, will take awhile to be comfortable in Munich's system.

So, this begs the question of the holding midfield - the engine that runs die Roten. Who are the best personnel in those two positions? Answer: Bastian Schweinsteiger and Antoliy Tymoschuk (when paired with Schweini).

Bayern captain Mark van Bommel's transfer to Milan solidifies this. Louis van Gaal will no longer have the luxury of keeping Bastian in the 10 spot, which I never thought was a sound decision in the first place. LvG has answered this criticism by saying, "The team is more important than Bastian Schweinsteiger." Naturlich. You'll get no argument from me there. However, he's basically saying, "I can do whatever I want!" without any complete reasoning behind it.

Schweini can play the playmaker's position. He does a fine job of it, as well. And, I do understand van Gaal's reason for keeping him there: Keep Mario Gomez happy. However, Mario Gomez operates just fine with Thomas Mueller in the 10 slot. Look back at the last match before the winter break against Stuttgart as evidence of that: One goal by Thomas, assisted by Super Mario, and an assist for Mr. Gomez.

Although Mueller can play left, right or center midfield (always nice to have on your squad), he's best utilized, for now, in the playmaker's role. Of course, when Toni Kroos finally returns from injury this is a question that can be looked at again.

So, after the van Bommel transfer is complete, what is the soundest starting XI we can field without Ribery?

Kraft - Lahm, Breno, Badstuber, Gustavo - Tymoschuk, Schweinsteiger - Robben, Mueller, Pranjic - Gomez

Eh. I'm alright with that.

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Posted by Paddy on 01/24/2011

Nice post but I'd have to say that best DMs would be Gustavo and Schweini but since Gustavo will probably have to cover LB ( at least) until summer you're right. And Altintop can do well at LM instead of Pranjić, though Daniel does have an edge. What I didn't understand against Kaiserslautern why was LVG insisting playing Tymo as a CB ahead of Breno. If Kraft is playing in order to prove himself, then Breno should be as well. He and Badstuber need to build up an understanding and we just might get a very good CB duo.

Posted by Susie on 01/24/2011


I concur with the Gustavo at CB part... when we get a LB. I mean, I suppose you could sit Tymo, put Pranjic at LB and Altintop on the wing...

Ugh. But, I roll my eyes every time Hamit's on the pitch!

Also, yeah... sitting Breno was not one of LvG's brightest ideas. You never know what that man is going to do.

Posted by Nathan on 01/24/2011

What Bayern needs to do is get rid of Van Bommel before the transfer window ends, then move Gustavo to the holding midfield position. Since they don't really want to add any new players right now, Pranjic is the best they have for the left back position. In the summer it would be a good idea for Bayern to get a young left back that can become the future for this team. Since this season is all about the Pokal and Champions league, they need to get ready for the future, but obviously still be a competitive team. As for last game, it looks like Robben is going to drive the team again.
Next years starting line-up...
Kraft(or new signing)-(New left back)-Badstuber-Breno-Lahm...Ribery-Gustavo-Schweinstieger-Robben...Kroos or Mueller in playmaker role...Gomez.
The only problems are how to split time with Kroos and Mueller

Posted by Susie on 01/24/2011


MvB is gone likely tomorrow.

When Ribery returns, Pranjic at LB and Gustavo paired with Schweini in the midfield will do--- once Gustavo is comfortable.

And as far as next season, you know we'll get Neuer, yeah?

Posted by Nathan on 01/24/2011

Thats what I'm hoping for...The only weak spots on the team are GK and a new player in those spots will make the team a complete threat. Plus the overall development of Breno and Badstuber as a pair needs to happen also.

Posted by Andreas on 01/24/2011

Susie, you're the best writer on this site. Thanks for taking the time to actually respond to people's comments. It's also nice to read that you've accepted that BVB will win the title (in your last entry). I know it must be pretty annoying for a Bayern fan to answer questions about another german team, but do you think BVB will hold on to their young stars?

Also, going forward (in next couple of years) if Muller and Kroos pick up their game, could we see Gomez as the one to drop in the lineup (Kroos in 10 spot, Muller at 9)? Or has Super Mario's form this season cemented his spot in the lineup?

Posted by Susie on 01/24/2011



As far as Dortmund's financial situation goes, it's one of the worst in the BL (along with Schalke). However, securing the BL title and getting direct CL qualification generates more money for the club. Perhaps the stockholders will agree to an increase in ticket price at Signal Iduna? That would help as well.

I would say that the timing of the increased revenue coming in versus renewal of contracts would have to be right.

It seems like more and more, important German players are staying in the Bundesliga. And I think that's partly due to the engine of the national team. EURO call-ups will be interesting, for sure.

As far as Gomez losing his spot? I think he's solidly there for this season. However, Olic will be raring to go once he returns from injury.

Posted by Shekhar on 01/25/2011

What if they switch to a 3 - 4 - 3 formation

Kraft - Breno, Badstuber, Gustavo - Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Tymoschuk, Altintop - Ribery, Gomez, Robben

Posted by Shane on 01/25/2011

Can't wait to see Mark van Bommel leave - he was never supposed to be the team's captain, ever! Now, stay healthy, Robbery! As of left back, we suddenly seem to have too many options, only too bad none can be trustworthy, as of now, just as the CDs.

Posted by Paddy on 01/25/2011

You guys are forgetting about Contento, who should be given this 6 months to prove himself in the bundesliga. He's better than Pranjić as a LB anyway.

Posted by Susie on 01/25/2011


3-4-3 seems highly unlikely. Especially with a team that plays in Europe.


Yep. Left back is still a problem. But, not as dire as it once was. And, at least the whole back line isn't a problem anymore. :)


I'm not forgetting Contento. He's fallen very far out of grace with van Gaal. If he doesn't leave in this transfer window, he'll be gone in the summer.

Posted by Ravi N on 01/25/2011

Hi Susie,
whats the situation on LVG's contract? He seems to seeting things up fairly nastily for himself at the moment!

Posted by jacob on 01/25/2011

Well MvB is gone! Susie I imagine you are pretty happy that your wish has finally come true. I think you're spot on that moving Schweini into the holding role will open up the team to be better geared towards its strengths, and allow Tymo into the team in his proper position.

I have high hopes for Breno/Badstuber--I think that they could grow into an excellent partnership if they play together and develop a rapport. It's just up to LvG to actually play them that way! I mean, I still wish we had a Vidic or a Puyol kind of reliable defender, but I don't think B/B will make the same blundering errors vBuyten/Demechelis used to make every week.

As for left back...what ever happened to the idea of buying Bosingwa from Chelsea? Seemed like a great idea to me. Even better, with the talk of Dani Alves leaving Barça, why not take a stab at bringing him to Bayern? We can dream, can't we? (and we can certainly pay!) In any case, I think Pranjic is a pretty damn good fill-in.

Posted by Nathan on 01/25/2011

New lineup without Van Bommel
Kraft(or new signing)
NEW LEFT BACK-Badstuber-Breno-Lahm

Posted by Henry, Seattle on 01/26/2011

I think we've got a fine team right now- new signings are exciting... but do we need them? The more people we sign, the more undeveloped we become.

I don't understand the "left-back, keeper" situation. I think Pranjic is one of the trickiest and most dynamic players on Bayern. The only mistake I've ever seen him made was that questionable foul on Sam vs. Leverkusen.
He plays very little and ties the team in most assists.
As for Kraft, I think he is the future of Bayern's defense. Think of Barcelona, Victor Valdes makes not nearly the calibre saves that Kraft makes. He's... what, twenty? Give him a chance, he's excellent.

As for Gustavo- he's a great player and definitely plays a solidly. Pairing him with Basti eventually would make so much sense. Tymo is our most consistant player, and with such a great morale he is the ideal first-choice-utility-substitute.

Thanks Susie for the posts, lots of fun to hear the latest!

Posted by Paddy on 01/26/2011

Pranjić in defense does not work because he's not a defender and can't defend good enough to be a reliable left back. He's a poor defender but a good winger.
Kraft still didn'r convince me, his handling against Kaiserslautern was terrible and if we played Inter one of his 3 mistakes could cost us the game.

Posted by Brett on 01/26/2011

Wow, what a difference Robben makes. I went to the game against K-town and watched him off the ball. When he cuts in, he forces a double team creating openings elsewhere. Bayern had a strong attack and comfortable possession with him in the lineup. He has the craft to make darting runs through the middle, granting him excellent opportunities. He thumped one off the bar, buried one in the net, and one to give Schweinsteiger and Gomez an easy 2v1 goal. He truly impressed.

@Andreas: Susie's right. BVB will have new revenues to keep key talent, but they will have to pay lots. They assembled a splendid young squad on the cheap. The party will be over when BVB have to resign players. Most of their starting 11 have smaller wages and are rated millions above what BVB paid.

@Henry: Spot on. Pranjic is good and has played exceptionally well for someone used so sparingly. Kraft is prodigious at 22 and very talented, but Neuer is only 24. Still, Bayern should be good keeperwise either way.

Posted by Peter on 01/26/2011

Is it just me, or does it seem that Gomez and Robben can't coexist? Both want to be "the man", and as brilliant, and i mean BRILLIANT as robben is, I sometimes feel if he gave the ball up once or twice when he gets double teamed, there would be more scoring opportunities for us.

And with Gomez, he's been so comfortable this year without having to look over his shoulder...I truly hope they can keep this up in the CL.

Posted by Susie on 01/26/2011


He's expressed a desire to coach a national team after this season, but frankly, I give up on trying to figure out what he's going to do.

The Bayern bosses will stay happy as long as he keeps getting results, regardless how they feel about his personality. It's a Dutch / German thing.


Dunno if "happy" is the right word, but I think it's the best move for he and the team in this case. Although I think it strange that they'd pick him up when he can't feature in their CL matches.

Vidic would be nice for sure! I love that Serb!

And the Bosingwa question? Roman has nearly inlimited funds at Chelsea, so they were always going to be able to outbid us.

Posted by Susie on 01/26/2011

*unlimited. Sheesh. That's what I get for replying by Blackberry.


I can't wait to see what happens when Gustavo is fully integrated! If Germany is willing to give him citizenship after only being there for 3 years, Bayern's 15 mil was very well spent.

As far as Kraft goes? Not saying that he's not excellent--- time will show that out. But, when you've got a chance to field Germany's number one...? When you're Bayern Munich, you take it.

He really is stunning to see live, huh? When I'm in the stadium, my jaw is usually hanging open. :) He even said that he tried too hard to make things happen in that first half against 'Slautern. But, if you think back on last season, he does kick it out when he draws the double team. I'd give him a couple weeks to really find his form.

Posted by william bediako on 01/27/2011

bayern all the way

Posted by Jason on 01/27/2011

This team is so different with Robben in the lineup. I expect a lot of good things in the CL. I want to see Ribery and Robben on the pitch at the same time again before I pass judgement on Ribery, but I'm not liking his attitude and effort. Mueller does very well at that spot, and taking Ribery out could open up a spot for Kroos when he comes back. Does Ribery have a future with this team?

Posted by Susie on 01/27/2011


Everyone hems and haws over Ribery and how much he's injured. Then he comes back and we complain about how selfish he is for a couple matches. And then he shows us how awesome he really is... and everyone stops complaining.

Rinse and repeat.

I honestly don't know what to think. But Robbery's only paired up 24 out of 79 matches. If they could get a lot of time together this season....

Posted by Hannes on 01/29/2011

we could find a way to clone lahm and use as the left and right fullback :)

Posted by Andre on 01/31/2011


I don´t think neither you nor Susie is right. Nearly all players in Dortmund have a contract till 2014 or longer. That also includes Jürgen Klopp. The financial situation has changed as well over the last years. The BVB isn´t a rich club, but they are doing pretty well in getting rid of their debth. This teams core will be together for at least two more years.

Posted by joseph fink on 03/18/2011

bayern guys.....please listen to this.....get rid of ribery...he loses the ball 7 out of 10 times....half the player he was 2 years 2 strikers.......put klose in......always dependable and underrated.......stop overpaying...( gomez..luca toni....) and develop more like t. muller.................and get a high quality central defender...............

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