Bayern gear up with questions over Mueller, Hoeness and transfers
Back from a tour of the United States, home friendlies against Fenerbahce on Tuesday and Real Madrid or Tottenham on Wednesday are followed by Saturday’s German Super Cup at last term’s runners-up Borussia Dortmund – the start of the real campaign for fans.
With a German Cup first-round date at fourth-tier Energie Cottbus following on August 12 before the Bundesliga start at home to Hertha Berlin on August 16, coach Niko Kovac is hard at work with the future of Thomas Mueller occupying his thoughts.
The boss seems to have settled on a 4-3-3 formation, meaning the role of a number 10 behind striker Robert Lewandowski, often filled by Mueller, is not required.
The former Germany player is not quick enough to occupy the flanks, where Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman are set to start unless Bayern manages to bring in the extra winger they so covet following the departures of Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben. They also have young Alphonso Davies in reserve.
Mueller was used as a back-up striker to Lewandowski while on the U.S. tour, suggesting long spells on the bench for the 29-year-old this term.
“Thomas played up top for a reason. We have to be prepared when Robert needs a break, for whatever reason,” the coach said.
“Everybody is fighting for their places, everybody wants to boost their chances to play in the first competitive games. Until the international break, we don’t have so many games, you don’t play every three days.
“It’s not always easy for a coach because there might be less rotation.”
Forward Jan-Fiete Arp has arrived from SV Hamburg but the teenager will need time to bed in and it remains to be seen if Bayern will try to sign another out-and-out forward to ease Lewandowski’s load.
Bayern has already recruited France World Cup defenders Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernandez, although the latter is still not fit after knee surgery.
Their pursuit of Chelsea Wideman Callum Hudson-Odoi appears to be over and Bayern worry they will be priced out of a bid for Manchester City’s Germany winger Leroy Sane.
But the German double winners are determined to do some business.
“There will definitely be transfers,” chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper.
He also used the interview to say he plans to stay in his role until his contract is up in 2021. Speculation in German media is rife that club president Uli Hoeness wants to quit early in the coming months.
Rummenigge refused to discuss Hoeness’s future but said he greatly respected former Adidas boss Herbert Hainer, who reports say is a possible successor.
“The job is fun for me, it is very interesting and it holds great responsibility,” said 63-year-old Rummenigge.