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The defeat in Dortmund clearly showed up Bayern’s weaknesses. Besides a disastrously organized defense unable to cope Dortmund’s consecutive and dangerous attacking wages, Bayern was lacking creativity in the offensive midfield. Thomas Müller was surely willing to make a big match in the Signal Iduna Park but he wasn’t able to do so. He had no impact on the game whatsoever and couldn’t free himself from his markers. Actually, the game in Dortmund wasn’t the only weak performance by Thomas Müller in the current season. He has played a pretty bad season yet and could only rarely show why he has become to one of the best offensive midfielders in the world in the last three years.
You could think that some patience would be good. The problem is that Bayern’s false nine seems to be abusing Heynckes’ patience. He has made 46 appearances for the Bavarians and despite 7 goals and 19 assists he seems to be too careless, smug and lush. There’s no real eagerness to succeed in his play anymore. Some call him lazy and many want Bayern’s manager to bench him. He is already underperforming since two seasons because he is simply overplayed. Rotation is highly needed…
Bayern actually has one replacement for him in the squad, though: Toni Kroos. The 22-year-old playmaker is playing an amazing season and has replaced Bastian Schweinsteiger pretty well in the last weeks of his injury. The German national player seems to finally have become mature. Last Wednesday (11.04.2012) Borussia Dortmund ran rings around him – figuratively as well as literally. In the first half he was ineffective in the build-up play as central midfielder, in the second half, after Schweinsteiger’s substitution, he couldn’t bring out the main points as offensive midfielder either. His lack of speed was his main handicap as well as the fact that he can’t properly rotate with his wingers, Ribéry and Robben – unlike Müller who didn’t do that in Dortmund either, though…
Even though Bayern’s forward line is very dangerous in the current season (111 goals so far), it could surely use some more flexibility, also to play in more systems than the utterly predictable 4-2-3-1 that has been practiced in every single match. A ‘top team’ should do better. Furthermore I think that a ‘top team’ should have at least two (almost) world class players on each position in case of an injury. Some rotation is always good as well, as you can see at Bayern at the moment. The key players seem to be exhausted by too many games in the last weeks, so-called English weeks (two games a week).
Well, Bayern does have world class players in the squad. Mario Gomez, Franck Ribéry, Arjen Robben and Bastian Schweinsteiger are surely among the best in the world on their positions. But those can’t always be playing, especially ‘Robbery’. They have been playing almost every game over 90 minutes and when they are injured, Bayern is in serious trouble. Bayern’s board has already reacted and signed the Swiss talent Xherdan Shaqiri (19). He’ll join the Bavarians in summer 2012.
Xherdan Shaqiri is a very versatile player. He plays best on the right wing but also on the left one and can even perform as left full-back. In my opinion, the current Basel player is already ready to play in such a big team as Bayern. So one of Bayern’s wingers (Robben) has already perfectly been backed up with a player who could even replace the left full-back (Alaba). Christian Nerlinger apparently has killed two birds with one stone there. Very good transfer.
Now, though, not only Bayern but in fact every European top club has the possibility to kill three birds with one stone. Because over the last couple of years, a young Belgian in the Ligue 1 has grown to one of the best and most wanted wingers, not to say offensive all-round players in Europe. Eden Hazard is playing for Lille OSC and by far the best player in the current Ligue 1 season. 14 goals and 12 assists in the French elite league have made him to the second best goalscorer and best assisting player of the Ligue 1. Hazard can almost everything: dribbling, scoring, assisting, he is fast, strong, creative and can play everywhere in the forward line. He is Lille’s key player and not for nothing on top of every top club’s wish list. Why Bayern
should must buy him:
As already said above, Bayern seemed to be really tired in the last games due to a high amount of games in the current season. Heynckes’ dilemma is that he hasn’t got the necessary quality of players on the bench to replace Ribéry or Robben adequately. Danjiel Pranjic is a nice guy but rather a left full-back or central midfielder than a player able to replace a dribbler like Ribéry. Toni Kroos is underperforming on the left wing as Louis van Gaal had to experience last season and David Alaba seems to have become a great left full-back. Same issue on Robben’s wing: Thomas Müller is somehow playing well on that position for the German national team but couldn’t really do so for Bayern. Since Eden Hazard can play everywhere in the forward line, he would amazingly fit into Bayern’s squad. The Belgian can even replace Toni Kroos or Thomas Müller in the centre! LOSC’s top scorer would be the perfect rotation player for Ribéry: In 22 appearances as left winger, he has scored 8 goals and assisted 6 goals. In an extreme case, he could also replace Arjen Robben: 3 goals and 3 assists in 5 games on the right wing.
Unlike Franck Ribéry and Arjen Robben who always have to take care of their muscles and thus are real injury prones, Eden Hazard hasn’t suffered any injury in his still young career. So Bayern has always a great replacement for ‘Robbery’, who, thanks to the rotation his transfer would allow, has already a lot of playtime. So Ribéry and Robben could get injured with no further consequences for Bayern’s success. Eden Hazard has even achieved something that neither Ribéry nor Robben have ever even been able to think of: Today (15.04.2012) Eden Hazard will play his 100th Ligue 1 game – in a row! He wasn’t used for the last time on the 17th of October 2009. This is very impressive, especially for such a young player.
Rudi Garcia, Lille’s manager has formed a tactically very flexible team. LOSC has already played in a 4-2-3-1, 4-3-3 and even in a 4-3-2-1 in the current season. In each formation Hazard was the key player. Either as playmaker, left or right winger or even as forward (4-3-3 with no real striker). Eden Hazard can truly play everywhere and would give Jupp Heynckes a lot of new tactical possibilities. In the current season, Bayern’s 4-2-3-1 has become way too common and predictable for the opponents. With a constantly rotating forward line composed of Ribéry, Hazard and Robben, Bayern would become way more dangerous and unpredictable because every of these players can play anywhere in the offense and could easily help each other. An utterly modern 4-3-3 without any real striker could be realized with Hazard as well as a 4-3-2-1 where Ribéry and Robben wouldn’t really fit in anymore, though. There are plenty of possibilities with such a modern winger!
For those who doubt his playmaking qualities: 2.2 key passes and an average of 55.3 passes a game are brilliant. 82.3% of successful passes are really impressive too, especially for a player who has been acting all over the pitch. Eden Hazard is a player who can trouble the opponent’s back four at any moment. He succeeds in 3 dribbles per game and shoots 2.6 times a game on target. His only weakness is the defense but nowadays wingers are mainly used to press forward and have to help their full-backs in the defense. Nothing crucial, consequently you needn’t consider those defensive stats if you want to buy someone like Eden Hazard.
I must admit that I really want Bayern to sign this player more than anything else and that’s why I wrote this article. Not to convince them but to explain you why I want this. I didn’t write this article as a fan though; from a neutral view. My views of football are the one of a perfectionist and if Bayern do want to be like Barcelona and the other top teams in Europe, they need to improve a lot. Their tactics, their squad; a lot of things aren’t quite good enough yet to compete every year for the Champions League title.
But, as always, there are some reasons why I am almost sure (and heartbroken) why Bayern won’t buy Eden Hazard. There’s the transfer fee of 40 million Euro Lille is asking for but also Kroos and Müller. Even though both could have needed some more rotation in the current season, they are from the own youth academy and German, after all. If you have written those two characteristics in your bio, you are automatically starting at Bayern… But as already said: some rotation would be precious. Furthermore Hazard has already declared to move to the Premier League to a club where he’s a regular starter for sure. Since Bayern doesn’t want to assure this to any player (for example they didn’t sign Marco Reus because he wanted to be always a regular starter by contract), Eden isn’t likely to sign in Munich. Unfortunately…
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