Bayern Munich 3-1 Win Over Mainz Highlights Problems With Squad Depth

Bayern Munich 3-1 Win Over Mainz Highlights Problems With Squad Depth

Min-jae Kim (l.), Leon Goretzka (c.) and Harry Kane (r.) look on as Bayern Munich fought off Mainz … [+] on Saturday. (Photo by Arne Dedert/picture alliance via Getty Image)

dpa/picture alliance via Getty Images

Despite a depleted lineup, Bayern Munich got the job done on Saturday against Mainz. The Rekordmeister beat Mainz at the MEWA
Arena 3-1 thanks to goals by Kingsley Coman (11’), Harry Kane (16’), and Leon Goretzka (59’), with Anthony Caci scoring the lone goal for the home team. But the real story wasn’t on the field but rather on the bench.

With several players out injured after the international break, Bayern Munich was able to have just seven players on the bench. Those seven players included goalkeeper Daniel Peretz, eternal reserve player Bouna Sarr, as well as youth players Aleksandar Pavlovic and Frans Krätzig.

Among the players missing were defenders Dayot Upamecano, Noussair Mazraoui, Raphaël Guerreiro, Serge Gnabry, and captain Manuel Neuer. Goretzka then suffered what looked like a hand injury during the game on Saturday. That’s a big impact on a squad that only includes 26 players—and even that number optimistically includes talents Tarek Buchmann, Taichi Fukui, and fourth goalkeeper Tom Hülsmann.

The thinly knit squad is a result of Bayern’s failed summer transfer window. The club sold Ryan Gravenberch and Benjamin Pavard in the final hours of the summer window without securing replacements first. Then, in quick succession, deals for a new potential defender and, more importantly, midfielder João Palhinha fell through.

Despite the lack of deadline-day signings, there is no certainty that Bayern will react this January and bolster the squad with new signings. Former Bayern president Uli Hoeneß, and still an all-powerful board member of the club, recently told the media that there won’t be a major transfer offensive in January.

Goalscorer Leon Goretzka had to be treated for a hand problem on Saturday and could be the next … [+] player on the injury list. (Photo by Harry Langer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

DeFodi Images via Getty Images

A statement that hasn’t exactly filled head coach Thomas Tuchel with joy. “If the boss says it, then it’s true,” Tuchel said while laughing. “We can’t afford a major injury crisis. Otherwise, we’ll keep our options open. We are completely convinced of the quality of the squad. Players like Min-jae Kim play every game, here and with the national team. Now all we can offer is regeneration, regeneration, regeneration.”

The problem for Bayern, however, is that there won’t be much time for regeneration. Next week, the club will return to action in the Champions League, where Bayern will face Galatasaray in Istanbul on Tuesday. Then on Saturday, Bayern will host Darmstadt, before playing Saarbrücken midweek in the DFB Pokal.

Finally, on Nov. 3, Bayern will travel to Dortmund for the Klassiker. A Dortmund side that has overcome a relatively slow start with pragmatic football that now sees the Edin Terzic side equal on points with Bayern.

With the heavy schedule in mind, the Klassiker will be an interesting test for Bayern and Tuchel, especially as both sides are currently trailing first-placed Leverkusen and second-placed Stuttgart in the standings. The schedule until the big matchup might also give the Bayern bosses a pretty good understanding of what to do with this squad in the January window.

Common sense suggests that Bayern will add at least one or two pieces. Most importantly, the much-demanded no.6 and a right-back. Among the players in the squad, there will also be talks with Alphonso Davies and his agent to address the recent Real Madrid rumors. Perhaps not quite the transfer offensive Tuchel was hoping for, but new sporting director Christoph Freund will be busy regardless.

Manuel Veth is the host of the Bundesliga Gegenpressing Podcast and the Area Manager USA at Transfermarkt. He has also been published in the Guardian, Newsweek, Howler, Pro Soccer USA, and several other outlets. Follow him on Twitter: @ManuelVeth and on Threads: @manuveth

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