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FC Bayern Munich – Benjamin Pavard: How important is he really for FCB?



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Bayern Munich has already completed the sweeping broom in the management floors. Now it’s about a possible general overhaul of the squad. If those responsible have their way, Benjamin Pavard should not fall victim to this, but the Frenchman would like to leave himself. How serious would a departure of the 27-year-old all-round defender be?

These days there are players in both Dortmund and Munich who have not always been fully appreciated in the past and are now probably looking to leave, although the clubs would be interested in further cooperation. For a long time, Benjamin Pavard was said to be a role player at Bayern – an offensively mediocre right-back who is particularly important for protection.

But the signs have changed. In view of the injuries to Lucas Hernández and most recently Dayot Upamecano, Pavard had to take on a lot of responsibility in central defense and was consistently convincing. His performances alongside an also in a good mood Matthijs de Ligt underlined the tactical flexibility of the 27-year-old from the north-east of France. With the national team he became world champion as a right-back, with Bayern in an identical role he won the Champions League, but Pavard can also do his job competently as a half-back in a back three and as a right central defender in a back four.

What also speaks for Pavard is the constant further development that the Frenchman has made. With 88.3 pass rate for the past Bundesliga season, he has the highest of his entire time in the German upper house, including the seasons at VfB Stuttgart. For the first time ever, his pass rate for passes between 14 and 28 meters in length is more than 90 percent. Meanwhile, his tackling success rate is 75 percent, down from 57 to 66 in previous years. Of course, these values ​​are also influenced a little by the positional changes, but even just observing it, it was noticeable how Pavard has steadily improved both in the build-up play and in defensive duels.

As already mentioned, however, he was not always fully appreciated. In terms of salary, Pavard is at best in the middle. His contract, which runs until 2024, earns him a reported annual salary of seven million euros. Elsewhere, Pavard could earn more. Inter Milan, FC Barcelona and many other Champions League clubs are said to be interested. Pavard himself is said to have deposited his change request with the bosses.

FC Bayern: Joshua Kimmich as a replacement solution?

If Pavard leaves Säbener Straße, a new construction site opens up for head coach Thomas Tuchel and the new decision-making team around Jan-Christian Dreesen, which has to be closed. João Cancelo returns to his home club Manchester City after the second half of the season. Lucas Hernández hasn’t played competitive football since November and needs to regain his game fitness first.

At right-back there is Noussair Mazraoui, a competent representative who knows how to internalize Tuchel’s positional play and has a better move forward than Pavard. In central defence, on the other hand, three players remained with de Ligt, Upamecano and Hernández, although four top-class defensive players are actually needed in view of the expected long triple load. Daley Blind will leave the club. No one from the U23s and U19s who could immediately slip into an adequate backup role slips behind them.

One consideration would be a possible repurposing of Joshua Kimmich. Since Bayern is already thinking about signing a real space blocker à la Declan Rice for the six, Kimmich would have to switch to another position if he stayed. The 28-year-old could act as a right-back or occupy the half-right position in a back three and boost the build-up from there. In any case, Kimmich would have sufficient resistance to pressing to break through a first line of defense. Whether the ambitious national player would voluntarily move backwards is another piece of paper. But, as always, the coach has the last word.

FC Bayern: Tuchel demands understanding of the position from everyone

Speaking of coaches: During his second season as Chelsea head coach, Tuchel mainly played a back three. Such a formation would definitely be in the current repertoire of the 49-year-old. With Alphonso Davies, Kingsley Coman and the aforementioned Mazraoui there would also be suitable wing runners. Davies and Coman in particular could play a similar role to Reece James at Chelsea under Tuchel and act as a pass away from the ball.

In the back three, however, Tuchel did not rely on hybrid solutions like Kimmich, but on classic central defenders à la Antonio Rüdiger and Andreas Christensen. The rumored interest in Axel Disasi from AS Monaco would underline that Bayern would probably be looking for a replacement with a similar profile if Pavard were to leave. Disasi is at home in central defence, but has also played three times at right-back this season.

It is important for Tuchel that the half-backs have very good timing for their selective advances and are also equipped with the positional understanding so that they do not blindly run into the staggered positions in front of them. As far as full-backs are concerned, the Bayern coach wants players with good anticipation skills to recognize when they need to start a run away from the ball in order not to be immediately identified as a runner and picked up by the opposing defense.

In addition, Tuchel expects a lot of understanding for the processes involved in building up the game and positional play in general, so that the routes to the inside or outside are coordinated with the offensive players. It was not without reason that Matthias Ginter was a model student of Tuchel’s for a while during their time at Borussia Dortmund.

With his understanding of the game, Pavard also fits in perfectly with Tuchel and his demands on defenders. But the Frenchman will soon be looking for a new home after four seasons in Munich.

Bayern Munich: Benjamin Pavard’s career so far

seasons Association games Gates
2019 – now FC Bayern Munich 182 12
2016 – 2019 VfB Stuttgart 88 2
2015 – 2016 LOSC Lille 25 0