FCB Danterized - Contento, Diego
There’s not much happening these days due to the international break. Nevertheless, something Bayern-related always happens. Here’s a short update of what you have to know.
The reserves lost for the first time this season on Saturday, 0-1 at home against Frohnlach. This pushed them all the way back to the 5th position in the league. With league leader Illertissen being 8 points ahead of Bayern at this point, it’s unfortunately quite likely that they’ll once again miss promotion to the third division. The most disappointed man was coach Mehmet Scholl whose press conference lasted 20 seconds. Watch a video of it here.
Better news: Diego Contento can run again. About a month after his injury, he’ll now regain match fitness as soon as possible and might even play as left-back once he’s fit enough. Speaking of injured left-backs, David Alaba, just like Mario Gomez, will need a bit more time than Contento but both are making good progress. Expect them to be back in October.
Most of the players who are fit will represent their country tonight. Holger Badstuber, Toni Kroos (fit again after a bruise dangerously close to his penis), Philipp Lahm, Thomas Müller and Manuel Neuer will face an Alaba-less (and thus useless) Austria at 8.30pm local time. All FCB guys have good chances to be a part of the starting lineup.
A direct battle of the Bayern might take place in Belgium at 8.45pm local time between Daniel van Buyten and Croatia’s Mario Mandzukic, although it’s doubtful whether van Buyten will start.
Arjen Robben (coached by Louis van Gaal) will play against Hungary at 8.30pm local time. Find your own Manuel Neuer-Hungary jokes.
Same time, different country for Xherdan Shaqiri who’s expected to start against Albania. Coach Ottmar Hitzfeld now complained that the ref failed to protect Shaq against an apparently aggressive Slovenia last Friday and hopes that the midfield cube can make it out of the second qualification match alive.
A big match is waiting for Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, the king of the Ukraine and Twitter. At 8pm local time, he and his teammates will face England at legendary Wembley. But since you’ve all seen the pictures of an excited Tymo inside that stadium, you already know that.
Franck Ribery might meet a few BATE players at 9pm local time when he and the French national team deal with Belarus. Just like every non-German European except Daniel van Buyten, anything but a spot in the starting lineup would be a surprise.
Leaving Europe, Claudio Pizarro will represent Peru against Argentina (as far as I know without Demichelis but maybe with Jose Sosa) at…I don’t know the local time to be honest, some time in the middle of the night if you’re in Europe.
Bayern’s cup match against second division club Jahn Regensburg will be played tomorrow, this means preseason is officially over. We saw lots of goals and unfortunately almost as many injuries, with Mario Gomez and David Alaba definitely and Diego Contento most likely out for the first Bundesliga match next Saturday, and Bastian Schweinsteiger, Rafinha and Claudio Pizarro all not yet 100% fit.
Because of the new-found depth thanks to the signings of highly useful players such as Dante, Mario Mandzukic, Xherdan Shaqiri and others, many spots in the starting lineup were up for grabs. The players had about a month to convince Don Jupp that they should start the season on the pitch, not on the bench. While they all surely gave it everything (someone give them a cookie), some did a better job than others. Here are my personal four winners and losers of preseason.
Mario Mandzukic: There is no doubt that the new Croatian, who combines Ivica Olic’s will power with Danijel Pranjic’s…something, will start in Regensburg and Fürth, simply because Mario Gomez is still injured. But while Mandzukic definitely benefits from that injury, it would be very wrong to think he only plays because of it. From day one on he showed what he’s capable of, his pointy elbows and useful feet annoy any defender. It’s not easy to say if he would’ve started with a fit Gomez around, I’d guess no because that would be a very big move for the first weeks, but he most certainly would’ve made it a very difficult decision for Heynckes. Luigi is more than just a sidekick.
Dante: Granted, preseason matches aren’t always the best thing for defenders, you often don’t have much to do. But, unlike some teammates, Dante has yet to look shaky. Arriving from Gladbach, where his team played more of a counter-attacking style, he didn’t have any problems getting used to being a part of the team that always dominates possession. Dante is a very, very serious option for the starting lineup.
Emre Can: Stating the obvious maybe but Can has become a real part of this team quickly. Just a guy for practice at first, his development in the last weeks has been impressive. At the beginning of preseason, he was a liability, a young guy who needs a lot of time to get used to this level. Now Emre Can is suddenly the main option for the left-back position until Alaba returns. If he continues to improve at this rate, Can won’t even need a loan deal.
Thomas Müller: I could’ve mentioned Xherdan Shaqiri here, the Swiss midfielder won over the hearts of the fans immediately. Nevertheless, it looks like Müller being in the starting lineup is more likely to happen at this point and that has nothing to do with trust or experience. Last season he was mostly shit, let’s be honest. So far he looks like the good old Thomas Müller of 2010, the one we all want. Scoring goals again, the always brilliant movement, even good passing - he’s shown it all. It’s too early to say that Müller is back but he’ll fight for his right to
Jerome Boateng: Oh Jerome…so clumsy, yet so strong and dominant sometimes. He had a chance to be the Alaba replacement but a great performance was followed by very bad ones. So what, he’s a center back anyway. Then he continued to struggle, looking so unconcentrated, slipping, playing sloppy passes. Potential-wise, I still think that Boateng is the best German defender, even above Badstuber and the greasy types. Someone teach him how to stay focused, please. Maybe he can learn while Dante takes over his position.
Diego Contento: It feels wrong to call players losers who missed quite some time because of an injury but Contento not only missed a big chance to impress in the absence of David Alaba, he often looked horrible while he still had that chance. Emre Can and Luiz Gustavo will or at least should be ahead of him when he’s fit again. More courage to support the offense, please.
Anatoliy Tymoshchuk: We love your tweets and crazy slide tackles, Tymo. You seem to be a really great guy. But you’re just not good enough anymore. I’m trying really hard but I can’t remember a single good performance so far this season. Your passing makes Luiz Gustavo look like Toni Kroos. You’d be a decent option for an Europa League club but in Munich there will soon be two guys, Luiz Gustavo and Javi Martinez, who are miles ahead of you.
Patrick Weihrauch: Just kidding, nobody cares about you. Like Jupp Heynckes, I only needed a filler.
You can follow Tobi on twitter here.
Meanwhile in Munich..
Franck on the bench