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Why the new twin is a perfect match for FC Bayern Munich



Why the new twin is a perfect match for FC Bayern Munich

Guglielmo Vicario suddenly appeared as a possible new goalkeeper at Bayern. The figures show that this could very well be the case.

It’s a bit like a bazaar, what happened at FC Bayern in the goalkeeper position in the past few weeks. Almost every good goalkeeper was presented to the Munich team to close the gap created by Manuel Neuer’s injury in the short, medium and maybe long term. And since the World Cup in Qatar wrote enough goalkeeper stories, the names Yassine Bounou, Dominik Livakovic and Emiliano Martínez suddenly haunted Säbener Straße. The advisor to Vladan Kovacevic, goalkeeper at the Polish leaders Rakow Czestochowa, also simply offered his protégé through the media.

And now? Yann Sommer is at least a temporary solution until the end of the season (but with a contract until 2025), Gregor Kobel from BVB should be a candidate from 2024. And then there was the internal solution of Alexander Nübel, who (at least for the time being) is returning to Munich after the season. In the middle of this already somewhat confused situation, Guglielmo Vicario suddenly appeared around the corner. The Italian newspapers tuttosport and La Republica reported that Bayern would try to get the 26-year-old from FC Empoli.

Guglielmo who? Admittedly, when looking for potential newcomers for a world club that Bayern are, the current ninth place in Serie A would probably fall through the cracks. The fact that Empoli is in ninth place and should have nothing to do with relegation also has a lot to do with Vicario.

After all, Empoli transferred 8.5 million euros to Cagliari last summer to get Vicario and strengthen the goalkeeper position in the long term. Since then, he has been thankful with seven clean sheets in the league and only conceding 22 goals. For comparison: Inter Milan already has 25 goals. In a direct encounter Empoli won 1-0 on Monday, Vicario could not be beaten again.

But it’s far more than just the absolute number of goals he concedes (or doesn’t concede) that shows just how exceptionally good Vicario really is – and why his style of play would suit Munich perfectly.

Guglielmo Vicario: Playing goalkeeper and Elmeter killer

Data from CreateFootball show that Vicario and Neuer are quite similar in some crucial parameters. The Italian anticipates opposing passes behind his own defensive line and resolves situations before they become a threat. So Vicario is a goalkeeper who plays along, as is needed in the Bayern system. Although he tends to position himself lower, he can score points in such situations with his responsiveness and timing when running out.

It is striking that the keeper at Empoli is extremely involved in the passing and build-up game. Above all, his passing accuracy and the quality of outplaying opponents stand out and could probably come into their own in a strong team with a lot of ball possession.

And on the line? The 1.94 meter giant is one of the best in his craft. His positional play and his reflexes on the line are outstanding. According to the xG metric, his team should have conceded ten (!) more goals than they actually have on their account. This is the biggest outperformance in the top 5 leagues in Europe. With an average of 1.51 brilliant saves per game in the 2022 calendar year, he showed more than two and a half times as many as Neuer (0.64) and almost matched Sommer’s value (1.58).

In addition, Vicario rarely makes mistakes. Only two of the last 58 goals conceded came from an acute angle or from a great distance, an absolute top value. At 71 percent, his defense rate of shots from a maximum of ten meters almost reached the value of Neuer (72 percent) and is significantly higher than that of Sommer (62 percent). The Swiss has advantages from the middle distance between ten and 20 meters: Sommer fends off 73 percent of these shots, Vicario two thirds and Neuer only 59 percent.

However, one quality that Vicario has over many other goalkeepers is as a penalty killer. In the 2022 calendar year, he saved 54 percent of all penalties and defused seven of the last 13 penalties. His rate is even higher than that of Bochum’s penalty killer Manuel Riemann, who won the duel eight times with 17 penalties. For comparison: Neuer did not save a single penalty in 2022.

Guglielmo Vicario lacks experience at the top level

But there are also question marks at Vicario, especially his lack of experience in a top club. He has only been playing regularly in Serie A since 2021, and he has not yet played any games on the European stage. In addition, he is used to getting a lot of work in every game. However, no one can really judge what it looks like in a team in which he has significantly less to do and has to be there on the spot at a few decisive moments. It is precisely this quality that distinguishes the absolute top goalkeepers.

At 26, Vicario is still very young for a goalkeeper and therefore still has plenty of potential for development. This makes him an interesting alternative to Kobel if the Swiss is too expensive. His style of play is reminiscent of Neuer, clubs like Juventus, AC Milan and AS Roma are already on Vicario. With Hasan Salihamidzic and Co., however, there could still be doubts as to whether the step from Empoli to FC Bayern, including the transfer fee of rumored 15 million euros, is not too big. Kobel Vicario has this intermediate step towards a regular Champions League participant.