For the last ten seasons, the Bundesliga title has been lifted by Bayern Munich. For the club, this has become the minimum expectation, while the biggest priority is the Champions League. However, this season, that looks to change, as Borussia Dortmund is now in pole position to claim the title.
Of course, Bayern was always going to (eventually) lose the Bundesliga. Rivals Dortmund have been building a great team and increasing their expenditure, while around the league, other clubs such as Union Berlin, Leverkusen, and Leipzig have been making smart purchases. It’s not losing the title that causes the most disappointment for Bayern — it’s the way that it happened.
Bayern Munich led the league at the winter break, and everything looked fine enough. However, things quickly unraveled: Lucas Hernandez, Manuel Neuer, Sadio Mané, and Noussair Mazraoui all suffered injuries during the World Cup (although Mané’s was technically before), which meant they missed the restart of the league.
Then, reports of conflicts started to emerge, players started to underperform, manager Julian Nagelsmann was fired, Mané hit his teammate, and everything has come undone. Now, the club needs a quick rebuild, and to do that, many key players will need to be sold.
Good as Gone: Blind, Cancelo, and Sarr
Daley Blind arrived in January for free and was never expecting to play much. His contract is up in the summer and he’s played 157 minutes since arriving. He won’t be back.
Joao Cancelo arrived in January, too, on loan from Manchester City. His situation is the opposite: while Bayern would love to keep him, he would cost too much. Unless his price tag gets lower, Cancelo will leave the club when his loan expires this summer.
Bouna Sarr was a panic buy in 2020, and he’s never looked comfortable in the team. In three years, he’s made just 28 appearances, including one this season. If a bid comes in, Bayern will take it, or they’ll have to consider terminating his contract.
Probably Gone: Mané, Sommer, Sabitzer, and Gravenberch
Sadio Mané was signed from Liverpool in the summer as Bayern’s new marquee attacker. Even at the time the move was confusing, as he never fit into the club’s system. Hitting Leroy Sané in the face didn’t help either, and there have been reports that his teammates have been unimpressed by the Senegal attacker. If a decent offer comes in, Bayern should take it.
Yann Sommer arrived in January as an emergency replacement for the injured Manuel Neuer, and he has been alright. Sommer has certainly not been the club’s biggest problem, but the 34-year-old has done little to prove that he should be a starter next season. Similarly to Mané, if there’s a decent offer (€20 million or higher), Bayern should accept it.
Marcel Sabitzer left Bayern on loan in January, signing with Manchester United. His performances in England have been impressive, and the Austrian has indicated that he wants to stay — before an injury ended his season. While talented, Sabitzer doesn’t seem to be in Bayern’s plans, but he could bring a bit of cash to the club — possibly around €20 million.
Ryan Gravenberch arrived in the summer as a highly-rated prospect from Ajax. However, the Dutchman has been unhappy with his playing time, which ultimately cost him a spot for his country in Qatar. Bayern ought to hold onto him if they can, but Gravenberch is clearly looking for a move, and it looks likely he’ll be gone by next season.
Thanks, But Bye: Gnabry, Goretzka, and Neuer
On his day, Serge Gnabry is one of the most unplayable wingers in the world. When Bayern Munich won the Champions League, the German scored nine times and assisted two goals in ten games. However, he’s also wildly inconsistent: in his first 14 Bundesliga games back from the winter break, he scored one goal. In the next four, he scored five times. Gnabry simply isn’t reliable, and any bid north of €30 million should be considered.
After four years of strong performances, Leon Goretzka has started to decline. He’s been unconvincing for both Bayern and Germany this season, and, similarly to Serge, hasn’t been very dependable. As one of Bayern’s top earners, if he doesn’t take a pay cut, he should be sold, and could probably go for about the same price as Gnabry.
Look: Manuel Neuer is a Bayern Munich legend. That’s undeniable. The German goalkeeper has made nearly 500 appearances for the club and won every possible trophy. However, he’s also started to collect injuries, and he broke his leg in December. At 37, Neuer likely won’t be able to return to his old form, and it’s time for the club to look for younger options. He should either be content with being a backup or look towards coaching/retirement.
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