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How Bayern Munich’s Strongest XI Could Look by the Start of Next Season

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Joshua Kimmich
Borussia Dortmund v FC Bayern Muenchen – Bundesliga | Pool/Getty Images

The delayed end to the 2019/20 campaign has cast uncertainty over the coming 2020/21 season. Despite some of Europe’s top leagues seeking to finish the current season as best they can, others are still yet to get back underway, and some have already been wrapped up by voiding off the games that remained, throwing a completely different spanner in the works.

No matter what lies ahead however, teams must keep at least one eye on the future, with the summer transfer market soon to open and football slowly but surely returning to some normality.

Even if they win the league this season, which now looks more likely thanks to a win in Der Klassiker, it’s no secret that Bayern have to improve. They endured a slow start, with Hansi Flick taking over from previous manager Niko Kovac mid-season. This inconsistency, combined with the rise to prominence of Dortmund and RB Leipzig, has made for an interesting dynamic at the top of the Bundesliga.

Bayern’s domestic success is no longer guaranteed as their rivals grow stronger, and Flick will be wary of this heading into next season. However, with a few players returning from injury, new contracts signed and perhaps some new faces in the squad, let’s see how Bayern Munich could line up for the start of the 2020/21 season.

FBL-GER-BUNDESLIGA-UNION BERLIN-BAYERN MUNICH
FBL-GER-BUNDESLIGA-UNION BERLIN-BAYERN MUNICH | HANNIBAL HANSCHKE/Getty Images

With Bayern announcing the signing of Schalke ‘keeper Alexander Nubel in January ahead of the 2020/21 season, doubt had crept in over the number one spot at Die Rotten for next season. Despite Manuel Neuer not getting any younger however, Bayern have tied him down to new deal until 2023, showing a commitment to their veteran captain and setting the agenda for next season.

Nubel is just 23 and largely inexperienced compared to 34-year-old Neuer, who seems to be back to his best despite injury setbacks. The most likely situation is that the former will play understudy to the latter, perhaps playing cup competitions, and eventually developing into the first choice in the coming years.

Benjamin Pavard
Schalke 04 v Bayern Munchen – German DFB Pokal | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Since arriving from VFB Stuttgart last summer, Benjamin Pavard has seamlessly slotted into the Bayern Munich set up and made the jump up to the big stage with ease.

Capable of supporting an attack and bolstering the defence when off the ball, Pavard is a classy customer and could enjoy the majority of his career in Bavaria. His versatility allows him to play at centre-back, left-back or even in a defensive midfield role, which seems to be the type of player that Bayern prioritise signing.

The 24-year-old has popped up with three goals and five assists from 38 appearances in all competitions this season, making him a certainty for next season.

Niklas Suele
RB Leipzig v FC Bayern Muenchen – Bundesliga | TF-Images/Getty Images

While Pavard has enjoyed a terrific 2019/20 season, Niklas Sule has endured a difficult one.

An ACL injury suffered in October has seen him out of action for most of the current campaign, and jeopardised his chances of making Euro 2020 before it was postponed due to the coronavirus. Despite a further setback with the already-injured knee, Sule could now feature before the season is over thanks to the break in play.

Since joining from Hoffenheim in 2017, the 24-year-old German had began to etch his way into the XI as a regular. A fully fit Sule, therefore, will no doubt go straight into the lineup for Bayern next season.

David Alaba
FC Schalke 04 v FC Bayern Muenchen – DFB Cup | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

Alaba, traditionally a left back but known for his immense versatility, moved into the centre of defence this season amid the injury blows dealt to Bayern, but has shown that he’s a natural in the role.

With the subsequent rise to prominence of young Alphonso Davies at left back, and uncertainty surrounding the future of 31-year-old Jerome Boateng, there is no reason why Alaba can’t continue at centre back next season.

German DFB Pokal"FC Schalke 04 v Bayern Munchen"
German DFB Pokal”FC Schalke 04 v Bayern Munchen” | ANP Sport/Getty Images

The Canadian teenager has been a joy to watch all season.

Despite signing from Vancouver Whitecaps as a left winger, 19-year-old Alphonso Davies has been a revelation at left back for Bayern, while Alaba has provided cover centrally. His blistering pace allows him to cover ground quicker than most, meaning he dominates the left flank in both attack and defence with his tidy footwork and impressive recoveries.

German DFB Pokal"FC Schalke 04 v Bayern Munchen"
German DFB Pokal”FC Schalke 04 v Bayern Munchen” | ANP Sport/Getty Images

Another example of versatile yet supreme quality, Joshua Kimmich is the ultimate Bayern Munich player.

Originally a right back, the 25-year-old has found himself further up the pitch more often than not this season, excelling in a double pivot. He has an impressive understanding of the game and can release attackers with his crisp passing from deep, making him perfect for the role.

And after the ridiculous lobbed effort he scored against Dortmund in Der Klassiker, there’s no way he’ll be wanting to move backwards anytime soon.

German DFB Pokal"FC Schalke 04 v Bayern Munchen"
German DFB Pokal”FC Schalke 04 v Bayern Munchen” | ANP Sport/Getty Images

Thiago’s silky footwork and immense technical ability makes him the perfect player to partner Kimmich next season.

The Spaniard has been unfortunate with injuries throughout his career, but when fit, he is undeniably one of the first names on the team sheet at Bayern. And at 29, he’s entering the peak of his career. A Kimmich/Thiago pairing guarantees expert passing across all ranges, and surely gives Bayern one of Europe’s strongest midfields.

If he can stay fit, Thiago will be indispensable next season.

German DFB Pokal"FC Schalke 04 v Bayern Munchen"
German DFB Pokal”FC Schalke 04 v Bayern Munchen” | ANP Sport/Getty Images

It sounds crazy that someone who was once deemed not good enough for West Brom by Tony Pulis is now a regular for Bayern Munich, but Serge Gnabry deserves all the praise for turning his career around.

With 18 goals and 12 assists in all competitions so far this season, Gnabry is continually proving that he is one of Bayern’s strongest assets going forward. He’s clawed his way to the top since returning to Germany in 2016, with Bayern reaping the rewards for recognising his talent.

At just 24, Gnabry has an exciting role to play, as Flick looks to take his side back to the top of the European football mountain.

Thomas Müller
Chelsea FC v FC Bayern Muenchen – UEFA Champions League Round of 16: First Leg | Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

Thomas Muller’s future at Bayern Munich looked bleak under former boss Niko Kovac, but the veteran striker has enjoyed a new lease of life under new management.

The 30-year-old is playing better than ever in his new playmaker role, chipping in with 11 goals and 20 assists in all competitions this season. He’s become a vital part of the XI once more under Hansi Flick, which will no doubt continue next season.

Sitting behind the striker in a 4-2-3-1, Muller will prove vital once more next season.

Leroy Sane
Liverpool v Man City – FA Community Shield | Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

It’s probably been a somewhat underwhelming read thus far for Bayern fans, with no new signings spicing up the starting XI. While new keeper Alexander Nubel will probably start next season as a back-up, winger Leroy Sane will come in and be the new poster boy.

At this point, it feels like a formality that Sane will leave Manchester City for Bayern, with their interest in the 24-year-old being public knowledge. He has agreed terms with the club according to reports, and has already been promised the famous number 10 shirt.

Despite missing the entirety of the 2019/20 season with a knee ligament injury, there is no denying his talent on the pitch. Should he return to his home country with Bayern next season, he will become the star man.

Robert Lewandowski
Borussia Dortmund v FC Bayern Muenchen – Bundesliga | Pool/Getty Images

At this point, it’s difficult to comprehend what a Bayern Munich side without Robert Lewandowski would even look like.

The Polish striker has been the go-to guy since moving to Bavaria in 2014, and despite now being 31, shows no signs of slowing down with his goal tallies. He’s bagged an incredible 232 goals in 278 games for Bayern, which is simply irreplaceable.

Bayern will hope that Erling Haaland is still at Dortmund when Lewandowski decides to call it a day, so they can inevitably sign him from their rivals, too.

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