FC Bayern Munich is currently said to be negotiating with Borussia Dortmund’s Raphaël Guerreiro. The BVB left-back’s contract expires at the end of June, so a change would be possible free of charge. But why would FCB want to sign the Portuguese at all?
Raphaël Guerreiro mainly played as a left-back for BVB. But immediately after his arrival in Dortmund – at that time still under the current Bayern coach Thomas Tuchel – he was also used in other positions. The 29-year-old initially played in central midfield before being called to the left back after injuries to other players. At times, Guerreiro also played as a left winger.
But actually these are all positions in which FC Bayern Munich is well occupied. Alphonso Davies is one of the best left-backs in the world at left-back. On the offensive wings, with Kingsley Coman, Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sané, Sadio Mané and at times Jamal Musiala, many stars are fighting for the wing positions. FCB is also currently overstaffed in central midfield. Because Dortmund would be an offensive eight, not a defensive six, as one would like to commit him. So how would Guerreiro strengthen FCB anyway?
Raphaël Guerreiro: master of the last pass
In the past season, FC Bayern scored a strong 92 goals. Under Julian Nagelsmann, the German record champions were even on course to break three-digit goal records. But especially under Thomas Tuchel there was a lack of scoring opportunities – the really good opportunities. Again and again, Munich were dependent on Joshua Kimmich, who played chip passes behind the chain. A very one-dimensional pattern – Guerreiro could help here.
Because: Raphaël Guerreiro was the best preparer of the past Bundesliga season. Nobody gave more assists than the Portuguese (12). Bayern’s top player in this category was Jamal Musiala with ten assists. Guerreiro is also at the top when it comes to passing shots to goal – at Bayern only Kimmich made more shots for his teammates. So Guerreiro is a master of the last pass, he freeplays his teammates.
Unlike Kimmich, Guerreiro mainly brings the balls flat and with plug passes to the man. Even from the left-back position, he gives only a few crosses (0.4 per game loud Opta), but rather looks for the technically more demanding solutions, also moves to the center and supports the construction. A similar player profile already appealed to Bayern in the winter when they signed João Cancelo to complement their squad. The loan deal wasn’t a complete success – and unlike his Portuguese compatriot, Guerreiro would be a free transfer and wouldn’t cost €40m or even more.
Guerreiro at Bayern: This is how he could fit in
But how are Bayern supposed to get Guerreiro onto the field when his traditional positions are already well occupied? That is a difficult question. But does Guerreiro have to have a regular place at all? Even at BVB, the left-back was not always set. Due to his versatility, he could always get his minutes in Munich just to give the regulars a break. With his skills, FC Bayern could, for example, take Joshua Kimmich off the field without losing an important creative player. Even better: You would change the element of how the scoring chances arise and thus present the opponent with new challenges.
The same applies to the position of left-back. With Alphonso Davies it’s clear what you get from him: the Canadian runs up and down the left wing, that’s his territory. The 22-year-old is doing excellently, but with Guerreiro you would add another option: Suddenly the left-back no longer moves past the outside with speed, but into the centre. He occupies other spaces and creates new problems for the opponent.
Guerreiro could not only play for Kimmich or Davies, he would also be an additional option. For example, there would be the possibility of installing him as an offensive pass machine next to Kimmich – either as a double six or with a defensive six behind. The first variant would be a very aggressive approach, the second would be a new way to stage the offensive players more often. You would sacrifice a player in the penalty area (Guerreiro would play in the 4-3-3 system instead of the ten in the 4-2-3-1), but you would gain in variability and become less predictable.
Set pieces, long-range shots, dribbles: Guerreiro can still do that
But Guerreiro isn’t just a passing machine, he’s an outstanding technician overall. FC Bayern is often inefficient, especially when it comes to their own corners. Kimmich beats this as probably the best standard shooter in Bavaria, with Guerreiro a left foot would be added, which could also provide more variability in this area.
He also brings his own goal threat with him, likes to take aim from afar and is successful with this means. But above all, his dribbling and runs with the ball at his feet are really strong. He can not only pass, but also tight ball control in small spaces.
His weakness, however, is clearly working against the ball. He lacks a bit of speed and mobility here, but above all he lacks strength and physique. The 1.70-meter man is a bit slimmer and is often boiled off in one-on-one by the opponent’s physical use. In addition, his positional play as a left-back can be expanded. But none of that is a main aspect at FC Bayern: You mainly play with the ball – and Guerreiro would be much more of an option in the many games in which FCB have to find an offensive solution.
FC Bayern: Thomas Tuchel and Raphael Guerreiro
In addition to the cheap solution as a free transfer, his versatility and the playful strengths, there is another plus point for Bayern at Guerreiro: The Portuguese not only knows coach Thomas Tuchel from his BVB time – the two also appreciate each other immensely. “He’s well on the way to becoming the coach’s favourite,” laughed Tuchel back in September 2016 when he spoke about the left foot. Guerreiro gives a coach options, and that’s exactly what Tuchel appreciated about him during his time in Dortmund.
On a personal level, it was also a good match between the player and the coach. In retrospect, Guerreiro only had words of praise for Tuchel, who was appointed world coach in 2021 after winning the Champions League with Chelsea. “It’s not a big surprise for me to be chosen because I know what he can do as a coach,” said Guerreiro sports1.
For their part, Bayern only have to ask Tuchel to find out what Guerreiro can do. And if the Bayern coach’s opinion hasn’t fundamentally changed in the meantime, there are few arguments against the Portuguese moving from BVB to FCB in the summer.