We take a look at how Bayern München's starting eleven for the 2019/20 season could look.
|Benjamin Pavard.||Photo: Кирилл Венедиктов/Soccer.ru/CC-by-SA 3.0|
The Bayern München bosses have made it clear that they're expecting to "change the face of the team quite a bit" this year - so what will happen? Below, we try to predict how their strongest starting eleven for the 2019/20 season could look.
Bayern have been linked with a number of players in recent months. Both Bild and Kicker have reported for months that Benjamin Pavard's €35 million move from VfB Stuttgart to Bavaria in the summer is done and dusted.
If Pavard indeed joins Bayern, he is likely to step in at right-back - the position he has mainly been playing for the French national team. In that case, Joshua Kimmich would continue in the central midfield role that he has operated in a number of times this season.
Lately, Bayern have been heavily linked with Lucas Hernandez with Spanish media outlet Marca even claiming that the versatile defender is set to join the German champions this month for €80-85 million - a fee that would make him the most expensive Bundesliga newcomer ever.
Bayern München CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has refused to rule out that the Bavarians want to sign Hernandez, which suggests there could be something to the rumor, but he also stressed shortly before Christmas that no deal is fixed yet.
Under all circumstances, Lucas Hernandez, who can be used both as a centre-back and as a left-back, seems like a likely acquisition - either this month or in the summer.
Lucas Hernandez could play alongside Niklas Süle in the central defence and thus push both Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng out of the starting eleven. According to Sport Bild, it's likely that at least one of the experienced German internationals will leave the club if Lucas Hernandez makes the move to Bavaria.
With both Arjen Robben certain to leave Bayern in the summer and Franck Ribery likely to do the same, Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman could emerge as starters on the wing positions.
18-year-old Alphonso Davies, who recently joined Bayern from Vancouver Whitecaps, would then provide cover for the duo - possibly along with another 18-year-old, Callum Hudson-Odoi, who could join from Chelsea, either in January or in the summer. Bayern have stepped up their interest in the youngster in recent weeks and have tabled a number of bids for him.
Finally, Timo Werner could join from RB Leipzig to take some pressure off the shoulders of the aging Robert Lewandowski who will turn 31 in August.
Werner openly flirted with Bayern after his team's 0-1 defeat to the German champions in December when he said that if he decides to leave RB Leipzig and stay in Germany, there's really just one club he could join.
The German international's deal with 'Die Roten Bullen' runs out in 2020, and if he turns down a contract extension, he will surely be sold in the summer, RB Leipzig CEO Oliver Mintzlaff has said.
Werner would thus be available for just €40-50 million, but the Bayern bosses aren't sure if he'll fit in.
Another question is if James Rodriguez, whose loan deal will expire in the summer, will join the club on a permanent deal from Real Madrid. Bayern have the option to sign him on a permanent deal for €42 million, but at the moment, it's doubtful that they will do so.
Bayern have also been linked with a bunch of other players such as Bordeaux's Aurélien Tchouaméni, Lille's Nicolas Pépé and Ajax duo Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong.
All things considered, we believe this looks like a realistic Bayern München team for the 2019/20 season:
Benjamin Pavard (VfB Stuttgart)
Lucas Hernandez (Atlético Madrid)
Jerome Boateng/Mats Hummels
Callum Hudson-Odoi (Chelsea)
Timo Werner (RB Leipzig)/Sandro Wagner