Daniel van Buyten and Martin Demichelis were never the most sturdy center-half pairing in the Bundesliga. More of than not, there have comical mix-ups that lead to a goals for the opposition, and things have only gotten worse with age. This weekend, van Buyten allowed Frankfurt’s Theofanis Gekas – who is at least four inches shorter than the Belgian – to not only beat him in the air and force a header goalwards, but to then beat him to the rebound and score the goal. After his mistake, van Buyten was subbed off and probably given the hairdryer treatment. With Martin Demichelis forced out of the side by Holger Badstuber, maybe it’s time Daniel van Buyten takes a place on the bench as well.
But who will replace the big Belgian? It’s not like Bayern Munich are especially deep in defense, I mean they haven’t even got a proper left-back! They do have one player though who could do the job in the center of defense with real authority. It’s not Anatoliy Tymoschuk, although he could be an option for Louis van Gaal given his impressive performances in the back-line this season, but he’s not the one I’m thinking of. The player Bayern Munich can begin to rely on is Breno.
The big Brazilian wunderkind spent last season out on loan at Nurnberg and built up a great partnership with Arsenal youngster Havard Nordtveit. Unfortunately, Breno sustained a long-term injury early this season and was forced out of action. Just this weekend, though, Breno finally got his first-team chance and made an instant impression.
His physical presence will remind some of Werder Bremen’s Naldo, and that comparison isn’t too far off. His composure and his anticipation make him a very sturdy choice in defense, and he could become a great asset to the reigning German champions.
If Louis van Gaal could experiment with a Badstuber – Breno partnership in the center of defense, Bayern Munich could really have something going for them there. Badstuber is a ball-playing defender, who has an eye for a long-range, defense-splitting pass and who can carry the ball into midfield. Breno, on the other hand, reminds me of Rio Ferdinand. He can command the back-line, he can win everything in the air, and he can drop back and track an opposition forward who is making a run. If Badstuber can step into midfield and close down a potential threat, then Breno can hold his position in defense and sweep up everything that makes it’s way past the midfield.
It could blossom into a top partnership if it’s given the chance, and it’s definitely something Louis van Gaal will be thinking about as well, especially with Martin Demichelis nearing the end of his Bayern Munich career and Daniel van Buyten becoming a bit embarrassing at all the wrong moments.