The Bundesliga resumed after the most recent international break, and…
Following a rather flattering 2-0 loss to Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund in the German Super Cup, Bayern Munich were left further reeling after confirmation of Javi Martinez’s ruptured knee ligament after a challenge with Dortmund defender, Marcel Schmelzer. It is guaranteed that the Spanish international will miss the remainder of the 2014 calendar year, as these ruptured ligaments are amongst the longest injuries to recover from.
This, of course, forces Bayern manager Pep Guardiola to abandon the 3-4-3 formation that he utilized during pre-season, having Javi Martinez, a Defensive midfielder by trade, play at the center of the back three. The Spanish manager sought to maximize the positioning and passing coming from the defensive line with Javi Martinez’s presence there. Under Pep Guardiola, Martinez also saw a big part of his playing time among the backline, often times partnering Dante or Boateng in a back four last season. With the injury to the former Atletic Bilbao player, Pep Guardiola must shift formation and system for the upcoming season. If no players were to be signed, it is most likely the familiar pairing of Dante and Jerome Boateng to take the reins at the heart of the Bavarian defense for the time being.
But do Bayern Munich need new signings? With Javi Martinez gone for a massive part of the 2014/2015 season, there is serious lack of depth amongst the Center-Back positions. With Van Buyten leaving last season, Pep Guardiola has more or less three natural center backs to choose from to play during the upcoming season. The situation even looks even more dire when you take in account Dante’s alarming loss of form over the past season; Holger Badstuber as well just came back from over a year on the sidelines recovering from a similar injury to Martinez.
Bayern Munich, for all their aspirations, cannot depend on such a backline to carry them over the three competitions they want to win this season; the DFB Pokal, Bundesliga, and Champions League. The German outfit are only one injury away to having a true crisis in the backline, and by judging the number of matches to be played, the question is more when than if. They need a new center back, but this center back has to be a genuine starter. Dante and Badstuber, for the time being, will not cut it, especially when you consider the emphasis of counter-attacking football in the Bundesliga, once again illustrated by Borussia Dortmund during the German Super Cup. A player that can marshal the defense, like Roma’s Mehdi Benatia, would be a good start for Pep Guardiola and Munich. It will allow Dante to get back to some sort of form, while easing Badstuber back to the position he was so accustomed to prior to his long-term injury.
Bayern may have been quite frugal this transfer season, but this is the kind of transfer they must spend on if they want to have the best chance of being successful this season.