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Investment in youth the best way forward for Bayern Munich

Gulraj Bedi
CONTRIBUTOR
Feature
565   //    11 Nov 2018, 00:31 IST

SL Benfica v FC Bayern Muenchen - UEFA Champions League Group E
SL Benfica v FC Bayern Muenchen - UEFA Champions League Group E

Bayern Munich’s recent defeat at the hands of Hertha Berlin was quite a thunderclap. The club had some bitter pills to swallow after Ondrej Duda and Vedad Ibisevic scored to deny Bayern what many believed to be a straightforward win. This unlikely defeat broke Bayern’s nine-year-long undefeated over Hertha. Despite a few wobbles early on in the season, Bayern Munich is still in the race to win the Bundesliga is year around. Currently placed third in the points table, behind the likes of Borussia Dortmund and Borussia Monchengladbach, the lads from Munich certainly have the necessary firepower to turn the tables and reclaim the paradise.

A major reason behind the club’s sinister defeats has been the inconsistency ailing some of the club's star players including the Dutch international Arjen Robben. Despite having rich cash reserves and adequate financial backing at their disposal, the club has refrained itself from making billion-dollar transfers of late.

Last summer, Corentin Tolisso’s transfer from Lyon to Bayern Munich attracted a few eyeballs. Acquired for a hefty sum of 41.5 million Euros, the transfer broke all records for a German club. At 24, the Frenchman comes into the side with a rich wealth of experience behind him. Going forward, he can certainly replace some of the bigger names in Bayern’s starting XI.

Similarly, German Right Back Joshua Kimmich was also signed by the club in 2015 in an attempt to strengthen the club’s youth reserves. Still, only 23, a player of Kimmich’s skill can be of immense value to Bayern Munich. Defender Jerome Boateng also joined the club as a 22-year-old in 2011 and, since then, has been a part of some of the most memorable victories in the history of the club.

Providing the right infrastructure

Bayern Munich’s strategy has also revolved around investing heavily in the youth system. Staying true to its essence of youth development, the club invested around 70 million Euros to establish a ‘Bayern Campus’ facility. The facility, located just 3 kilometres away from the Allianz Arena. The grand facility houses training areas, housing quarters, as many as eight football pitches, and a stadium as well. Money certainly can’t buy you everything, but investing such a heavy sum to streamline and nurture young players throws ample light on the club’s ideology of harnessing long-term prospects rather than spilling a billion dollars to acquire already established names.

Those who went searching for greener pastures

Whatever the club might think, but finding and nurturing players for a club as good as Bayern Munich happens to be a daunting task. Spanish star David Alba joined the club as a youngster and rose through the ranks to make a name for himself elsewhere. Tried and tested names in German defender Mats Hummels and mid-fielder Sandro Wagner began their careers at Bayern before moving to other clubs. Both of them returned to the club recently.

Not much Homegrown talent of late

Almost all of Bayern Munich’s star performers have been acquired from other teams. Polish national Robert Lewandowski was signed from Borussia Dortmund 2014. Since then, he has led the scoring charts with a tally of 111 goals in a 135 matches for the Bavarian giants. At 30, the star from Poland has entered the autumn of his playing career. With Lewandowski’s and Robben’s age running out, James Rodriguez would surely run out of midfielders in a season or two. Adding a few young midfielders into their ranks would not only provide them with a much-needed breath of fresh air but would also allow the club to nurture long-term prospects.

An eye on the future

Going by the popular notion football is a young man’s game. Investing in the youth might sound like a tedious process at first, but having some fresh and energetic raw material to work with gives you the liberty to carve legends out of talented youngsters. Thomas Mueller, the vice-captain is a roaring example of the club’s youth development system in the recent past. With manager Niko Kovak facing the heat of late because of some sinister defeats, the best way forward for the club is to invest heavily in the youth. This would allow the club to nurture a breed of players for the coming decade.

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Gulraj Bedi
CONTRIBUTOR
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