Last Season: 1st
Coach: Thomas Tuchel
Squad Valuation: €981.20m
Stadium: Allianz Arena (75,024)
In the end it was a case of all’s well that ends well for FC Bayern Munich last season as they secured an eleventh consecutive Bundesliga title. The campaign however didn’t run as smoothly as expected and the Rekordmeister came as close to losing their grip on the Meisterschale as they have done in any of the previous ten triumphs.
Being taken to the wire by Borussia Dortmund and mis-firing by Bayern standards cost Julian Nagelsmann his job in the run-in to the end of the season and then ultimately both CEO Oliver Kahn and sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic were both fired for what was perceived as management failures.
Last season is not one Bayern want to relive and that is why they have spent big this summer. The long, drawn out pursuit of Harry Kane finally came to a positive conclusion from Bayern’s point of view with Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy finally sanctioning a €100 million transfer to the Bavarians. Signing a new number nine to inherit the Robert Lewandowski mantle was priority for the club after starting last season without a recognised striker and then using Eric-Maxim Choup Moting (to surprisingly good effect). The arrival of England’s national team captain will guarantee the goals, but there are still other areas of the squad that need attention.
The defection of Lucas Hernandez to Paris St. Germain didn’t go down well considering how Bayern have stuck by him throughout his injuries, but in Korean Kim Min-Jae they have signed a Serie A winner nicknamed ‘the Monster’ and labelled as the ‘best centre back in the world’ by his former Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti.
Konrad Laimer’s signing had already been announced last season and his arrival will give Thomas Tuchel even more of a dilemma over selection. Joshua Kimmich will be a guaranteed starter, but neither Leon Goretzka nor Ryan Gravenberch will be too happy playing second fiddle this season as Tuchel still insists he needs to sign a new specialist number six.
Raphael Guerreiro will offer cover at left back, although the long-term future of Benjamin Pavard is uncertain at the time of writing meaning Bayern’s transfer dealings may not yet be over. Bayern will also go into the new season with much uncertainty over the goalkeeping situation. There is, as yet, no set date for the return of Manuel Neuer and both Yann Sommer and Alexander Nübel have been sold.
Regardless of the transfers that might still occur, Bayern will go into the season as favourites once again, but their Supercup defeat to RB Leipzig wasn’t exactly the ideal start to their competitive season. Thomas Tuchel will be under pressure to prove the club were right to ditch Julian Nagelsmann in favour of him, and any wobbles from Bayern in the early stages of the campaign will only encourage the chasing pack.
A twelfth successive Bundesliga title will be the minimum expectation, but progression in the Champions League will also be required after quarter-final exits in the previous three seasons. How Bayern react to last season will be very interesting to see. Last season’s title race was the most exciting in years- something the Bavarians don’t want to see again this year.
Major signings: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Kim Min-Jae (Napoli), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund), Konrad Laimer (RB Leipzig)
Major departures: Lucas Hernandez (Paris St. Germain), Sadio Mané (Al Nassr), Marcel Sabitzer (Borussia Dortmund), Yann Sommer (Inter), Alexander Nübel (VfB Stuttgart), Daly Blind (Girona)
Youngster to watch: Paul Wanner
Such is the quality of Bayern’s stellar squad that aside from wonderkid Jamal Musiala, there isn’t much room for the younger members of the fringe squad to get Bundesliga minutes under their belts. The most likely to do so could be 17-year-old Paul Wanner, who made two brief substitution appearances last season. He became Bayern’s youngest ever player to appear in the Champions League last season and will be looking to impress Thomas Tuchel in what is a very competitive midfield department.