The Mark van Bommel Conundrum: Have Bayern Munich’s Fringe Players Frozen Him Out?

Mark van Bommel Is As Hard As A Coffin Nail, But That Might Not Be Enough.

After Mark van Bommel suffered a long-term injury during an international friendly match for Holland in early October, doubts about Bayern Munich’s chances of retaining their Bundesliga crown began to seriously grow. With Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery already ruled out of action, there was a huge concern over Bayern Munich’s strength in midfield. Last year, that midfield nearly single-handedly lifted Die Roten to the Champions League final, to the Bundesliga title and to the DFB Pokal title. Now, it looked seriously depleted. Louis van Gaal was quick to alienate Andreas Ottl and Anatoliy Tymoschuk at the start of the season in favor of the more reliable Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mark van Bommel, but when van Bommel was ruled out for two months, the Dutch tactician had no choice but to turn to his fringe players.

Andreas Ottl’s form has been very impressive in his recent performances, and the midfielder has really proven a point to his manager. After a loan spell last season, he’s come back into the side and has made his claim for regular first-team football. He’s done so well, that Bastian Schweinsteiger is being used in a more advanced position to make way for Ottl! That’s something to be proud of, even though Schweinsteiger’s new role could be more due to injuries in attacking areas. Still, Schweinsteiger has flourished in behind the striker and Ottl has been a creative force from a deeper area of midfield.

And then there is Tymoschuk. When Bayern Munich looked incredibly light in defense, Tymoschuk was used as an emergency center-half to combat their frailty at the back. He made an immediate impression, and the Ukrainian midfielder who made a big money move from Zenit at the start of last season was finally getting some regular action. Then, after impressing in defense, Tymoschuk was given a midfield role next to either Bastian Schweinsteiger or Andreas Ottl and his form steadily rose.

Just this Saturday, Tymoschuk played his best game in a Bayern Munich shirt yet. He showed his class and netted twice despite playing a holding midfield role. He bossed the midfield and he claimed the match ball and it was nothing less than he deserved. What he’s also done, though, is he’s given Louis van Gaal a big problem. Tymoschuk has been playing in Mark van Bommel’s position in midfield, and he’s excelled there. So, does the captain get his place back?

Some will argue that it is impossible not to restore him because he’s the captain, but I don’t believe that’s a fair argument. Michael Ballack was spurned by Joachim Loew despite being named captain, and the German national team has not suffered in his absence. Has Bayern Munich suffered in van Bommel’s absence, or have Die Roten’s woes been more due to attack insufficiency rather than a midfield problem?

Definitely some things Louis van Gaal will have to think about. Considering his reputation, Mark van Bommel will definitely have to earn his way back into the side. You can’t argue with form, and you can’t argue with Louis. It’s just good to see a healthy bit of competition in the Bayern Munich midfield finally.

Louis van Gaal also has the option of playing Toni Kroos in behind Mario Gomez, which allows Bastian Schweinsteiger to drop back into his preferred midfield role. That means, partnering Schweinsteiger, would be one of Andreas Ottl, Anatoliy Tymoschuk or Mark van Bommel. None of them have had a below average game all season in midfield, so I would assume Louis van Gaal would pick the most in form player for his starting eleven. At the moment, that player is Anatoliy Tymoschuk.

It’s the kind of problem Bayern Munich want to have. Being able to boast such a stacked midfield is a real plus, as long as it doesn’t disrupt the dressing room. Next weekend Bayern Munich will travel to Schalke, and it’ll be interesting to see who Louis van Gaal hands a start to.

9 thoughts on “The Mark van Bommel Conundrum: Have Bayern Munich’s Fringe Players Frozen Him Out?”

  1. Wasn’t Tymoschuk one of the players supposedly marginalized by van Gaal because they weren’t his buys? If so, it seems to show that van Gaal isn’t close-minded enough to cut off his nose to spite his face. Another reason why I don’t care how far back in the table Bayern are, they still have a chance.

  2. I agree with David. The table doesnt look pleasant but if there is a team in the Bundesliga that can recover is Bayern. Lehmann said something that is very interesting. He said in the bundesliga, only Bayern starts the league saying they want to be champions! This is the mentality of Bayern and I think they have a strong squad to give a strong final push. Other teams struggle just to make it to Europe and once they do that- they cant keep up with 2-3 competitions the following year and end up in a position like schalke. Lets hope Bayern beats them this weekend!

  3. If MvB loses his spot he will have no one to blame but himself. Bayern are a team of results and if you are getting them, you will be benched.

  4. If MvB loses his spot he will have no one to blame but himself.

    That’s a bit harsh! He’s been injured, he didn’t play himself off the starting eleven.

    Not that I care. Kaiserslautern & 17 points is what I care about. Everything else is just gravy.

  5. Lets hope Bayern beats them this weekend!

    Let’s no go overboard!

    I’m no Bayern fan, just an admirer of how they run their club. I’d be more than happy if BVB, or anyone not Bayern, won the league. And if Kaiserslautern stay up.

  6. I hate to spoil your fun but Schweinsteiger wasn’t moved to make way for Ottl, Bayern simply needed someone behind Gomez, Mueller and Ribery who can support them and create chances for them but Kroos is too young and inexperienced. Schweinsteiger is a dm who simply can play anywhere in the midfield and he proved that again these past weeks by scoring important goals and helping Gomez get back on his feet.
    Ottl got his chance but he’ll be back on the bench now that van Bommel is back. It’s van Bommel or tymotschuk next to Schweinsteiger for dm, Not Ottl.
    Ottl is a solid dm but he can’t compete with the Iikes of van Bommel or Schweinsteiger. Maybe next year when van Bommel retires…

    1. No, I don’t think he was moved to make way for Ottl. All I’m suggesting is that with Ottl playing so well, it wasn’t a big deal to move Schweinsteiger into that position and not disturb the balance of play. Louis van Gaal had more faith in playing Andreas Ottl than Toni Kroos, so there you go.

  7. I liked the lineup this past weekend. Kroos played a more deep lying role. Tymo got up field nicely for those goals. Ottl and MvB can come off the bench.

    Won’t competition get really exciting when Klose, Robben and Olic are healthy.

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