By Scott Reynolds

Pavard reaches 100 matches for Bayern

Benjamin Pavard spoke to kicker magazine recently on hitting the milestone and his preferred position
Benjamin Pavard hasn't always had the easiest go of things at FC Bayern München, despite piling up trophies to go with his 2018 World Cup Winner's medal, but on Friday against Wolfsburg he completed his 100th appearance with the German champions. Pavard also managed to add some late intrigue to the match-the scoreline of 4-0 providing nothing of the sort-by requiring a substitution shortly before the final whistle so that he could use the toilet. Oh, that French flair for the dramatic.

In an interview published in kicker magazine, Pavard spoke of the milestone: "100 matches is a great marker. This number fills me with great pride. To achieve this with such a great club is something I dreamed of as a little boy." Most often deployed as a right back, Pavard also declared his preference for a different role: "My best position is in the central defence, that was always the case", adding that "the centre is my home".

While Pavard may think that himself, this opinion would not appear to be shared by Julian Nagelsmann or French national team coach Didier Deschamps, both choosing to play him almost exclusively on the right. While Pavard has occasionally struggled for consistency of form, leading to persistent rumours of Bayern looking to upgrade at his position-though as of yet, nothing has materialized on this front-his best play is strong enough that he is consistently selected as a starter for both his club and national team, each among the best in the world.

Some defensive troubles-sometimes very prominent, such as when he was easily beaten for the cross that led to Switzerland's opening goal when they knocked France out of the European Championship this summer, and later in the same match gave away a penalty with a bad sliding tackle-are often made up for with moments of offensive brilliance; few will forget the rocket he blasted against Argentina at the 2018 World Cup to announce himself as a star on the sport's biggest stage. That being said, the 4 Bundesliga goals he managed in his first Champions League-winning season with Bayern have yet to be joined by even 1 more since then, either in domestic or European competition. He also provided 4 assists that year in the Bundesliga, and since has added only 1 in 34 appearances.

Only time will tell if his production will tick upwards again, or if he can stake a claim to a role in his preferred position at centre-back. For now, he and Bayern go into the winter break with a comfortable lead at the top of the standings, set to continue marching their way to record 10th consecutive title.



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