With or without Alaba, Bayern defence still isn’t good enough

Stefan Bienkowski
Stefan Bienkowski
  • Updated: 19 May 2021 15:43 BST
  • 4 min read
With or without Alaba, Bayern defence still isn’t good enough

The January transfer window may be about to blow a hole in Bayern Munich’s team and force them to begin planning for major changes in the summer off-season. 

According to Spanish newspaper MARCA, Real Madrid are about to step up their efforts to sign David Alaba on a pre-contract agreement. 

The Austrian defender has so far failed to reach an agreement with Bayern over extending a contract that is set to expire at the end of the season. 

And now he can speak to other clubs around Europe about making the move elsewhere. Yet Alaba is just one part of a bigger problem in Hansi Flick’s side.

Bayern’s defence isn’t nearly as good as it was last season and by the time the summer transfer window comes around it may be even worse. 


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  • SeasonGoals conceded per league match

    Alaba and Bayern’s current defensive problems

    So far this season Bayern have conceded 19 goals in just 13 Bundesliga games. That works out at around 1.46 conceded goals per match. 

    Not only is it a worrying stat, but it’s almost twice Bayern’s defensive average in the league from last season of 0.94 conceded goals per game. And currently has Flick’s side sitting behind five Bundesliga rivals when it comes to the best defence in the division. 

    While some of the factors that have led to this porous approach to the current campaign can be put down to uncontrollable circumstances, like the pandemic putting a greater strain on squads across the continent and injuries to key defensive players like Alphonso Davies and Joshua Kimmich, there’s little doubt that Bayern don’t look nearly as tight at the back as they did last season. 

    As such, Bayern’s league campaign has been dogged by conceding early goals and rivals like Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig racking up impressive goal tallies in their opening clashes against the German champions this season. Even Hoffenheim managed to put four past Manuel Neuer.

    And there’s a number of reasons to think these issues in defence may only get worse next season, unless the Munich side invest heavily in defensive players either in January or at the end of the season. 

    New defensive signings needed

    The most immediate and perhaps long-lasting issue for Bayern’s defence is based around the future of Alaba. If the defender decides to leave the club at the end of the campaign then that leaves Flick with even fewer options than he’s been able to rely upon this season. 

    Alaba’s departure would leave flick with Jerome Boateng, Niklas Sule and Tanguy Nianzou as his central defensive options. However, at 32 years of age, Boateng is beginning to show a disturbing lack of pace for the top level and in Sule and Nianzou, Flick has two young defenders that have either been sidelined by too many injuries or simply not tested at all. 

    The problems don’t stop there, either. While Bayern are well stocked at left back with Davies and Lucas Hernandez, it seems as though Flick is far from delighted with his current options at right backs.

    Bounna Sarr, who was signed from Marseille in the summer, has failed to convince in his limited appearances this season and while Benjamin Pavard did initially play a regular role in the team at the start of the season, Flick has since turned to a back three to use his wingers as wing-backs in an effort to mitigate the necessity for a genuine right-back. 

    The Bayern manager has been spared by the resurgence of Neuer as one of Europe’s best goalkeepers and a talent that has genuinely ensured victories or hard-fought draws almost single-handedly this season. But even the best shot-stoppers can’t win league titles on their own.

    Bayern’s defence is by no means firing on all cylinders this season and there’s every reason to believe it could be even weaker next season if Alaba decides to leave for greener pastures in the summer. 

    Either way, it seems clear that Flick and the club’s hierarchy will have to spend this January transfer window making up plans for who the Bavarian club can either sign in the coming weeks or in six months time. Bayern’s defence is falling apart and it desperately needs some investment.