Bayern Munich: Where the Young go to Die
We can only hope that young players begin to take notice of Bayern Munich’s youth policy, which is to strip other clubs of their promising youth, destroy their confidence and send them out on loan as disappointments.
With Podolski, Hummels and Kroos all finding new homes in January, it’s obvious that Bayern have become the only English club in German football. Capable of generating only a pair of its own players from the youth ranks, Hoeness and co. are more interested in stocking their first team with high salaried talent, usually brought (insert your conspiracy theory here) to the Allianz under a Bosman. Perhaps Middlesboro and Bayern Munich should swap leagues, as the former is the last top division English club that still develops its own starters and FC Bayern is the only Bundesliga side that doesn’t.
Toni Kroos is the latest casualty of the Bavarian’s jealous tendency to collect young promising players. He came to Munich from Hansa Rostock to sit on the bench, while the old East German club could have used his talent in their bids to stay up last year. For his effort he got to train in the best facilities with the best coaches. But anyone who thinks that training in mediocre facilities with good coaches but playing consistently isn’t massively more important to the development of a player than playing Wii at the Allianz needs to turn off Football Manager. Had Kroos stayed at Hansa and started getting first team chances, he might well be pushing for a spot on the German National team like Marko Marin. Rather he is going to Bayer Leverkusen to revive his career.
Not that this isn’t a good move for him as he will now have first class training facilities, a fantastic trainer to mentor him and ample chances to play on a fantastic, but thin squad. He provides Labbadia more young talent, but more importantly insurance that his challenge for Europe won’t end if either Augusto or Keissling sustain injury, as Kroos can play either’s role.
Mats Hummels is a different kettle of fish. Bayern actually developed him. But the centerhalf, who has partnered with Neven Subotic at BVB to become the most dynamic pairings in the Bundesliga, is angling for a permanent move to Dortmund, and seems set to get the move in the summer. A serious injury only just scuttled a permanent move in January. So Bayern seem willing to let him go even though they boast an aging back line. Lucio and Van Buyten are both 30, while Demichelis is 28. Rather than nurture a pairing of Breno and Hummels to be the heart of their defense for years to come, they will have shuttled the smart young defender to one of their biggest rivals, who will now do the same with Subotic and Hummels. While great for the league, it’s completely idiotic by Hoeness, who is too busy talking about Hoffenheim to worry about the future of his own club.
Who is next? Alexander Baumjohann! The promising midfielder fell for false promises to spurn a new contract and go south come this summer. To his defense, he is hardly the only German that goes south for summer holidays. Baumjohann, who has been getting some solid playing time for Gladbach, will not see another first team game, outside of the FA Cup, until he goes out on loan sometime in 2010.
And while Hoeness can talk about how loaned players can come back like Lahm, he’s the exception rather than the rule. If you send good players to decent clubs, they are going to want to stay because why sit on the bench when you can start for a contender? So hopefully the starlets of the Bundesliga will start to take notice of the Bayern model and avoid it in the future. It will be better for their careers and the league.