Could ONE Change Make Marcel Sabitzer FC Bayern’s Most Important Player?
Julian Nagelsmann could have a plan in mind. Signing Konrad Laimer may not be the bad option as we all make it out to be. Involving a number of positional rotations, depth analysis, and movement within the squad as a whole
For this scenario to occur, both Serge Gnabry and Robert Lewandowski will need to depart FC Bayern, freeing up two important squad roles. Without any adequate replacements, we would see Thomas Müller starting as the central striker, a position he regularly played in under Pep Guardiola. If Serge Gnabry doesn’t leave, he would fill that spot, with Müller shadowing him. Or, in the 3-4-1-2 formation Julian Nagelsmann toys with occasionally, Gnabry, Kingsley Coman, Sadio Mané, Thomas Müller, and Leroy Sané would all fight for two positions up top. Alphonso Davies will nail down the left flank, similar to either Serge Gnabry, Kingsley Coman, or Noussair Mazraoui on the right, and Benjamin Pavard playing in the narrower defensive role
In any system with an attacking midfielder, this role will need to be filled by someone other than Thomas Müller if he’s moved to the wing or up front. And that missing piece would be Marcel Sabitzer. Although Leon Goretzka played a few matches at the 10 position and returned with two goals and three assists in the 2018/19 season for the four matches in a row, the attacking output diminishes his defensive role as a box-to-box 8 instead. Seeing Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka work in tandem as a double pivot has been excellent, and that will need to stay regardless of what movement occurs higher up the field
Marcel Sabitzer fits in well with the profile of the attacking midfielder. He may not be the fastest, strongest, or most technically gifted, but his ability to play with his back to goal and let others around him dictate the play makes him a great team player. Furthermore, his aerial presence should not be underestimated, nor should his shooting ability. Without Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Müller won’t have sufficient space to work with, and play won’t be dictated through crosses as much as prevously was
Marcel Sabitzer and Konrad Laimer are both known to have a ridiculous shooting range, both managing to score long-distance goals regularly. Konrad Laimer smacked one in against Manuel Neuer last season, while Marcel Sabitzer won a Bundesliga goal of the month for his strike from almost halfway against Hertha Berlin two seasons ago. Without a true striker with the finishing instinct, the scoring burden must be held by a multitude of players
Sabitzer could be the key to the cog that turns the wheel. Behind him, Konrad Laimer, Joshua Kimmich, and Leon Goretzka will keep the midfield engine running, ahead of him, Thomas Müller and the wingers can draw narrow or pull wide where needed. But to bring the midfield numbers into attack, Marcel Sabitzer can be the turning point, the pièce de résistance in this well-oiled machine. With his back to goal, he’ll pull the midfield forward, when facing the net, the shooting boots will let fly. A potentially devastating attacking midfielder in either situation, his transfer last season may not be a failure after all