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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.

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  1. Ben

    May 19, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    So now Kroos is back at Bayern next season. Who is he up against to get in the starting lineup? Would be sad to see him sit on the bench for another year. He did rather well at Bayer.

  2. JR

    February 9, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    I don’t see an issue.

    Kroos just doesn’t fit in Bayern’s system right now so they send him to Leverkusen to get some outside view and hopefully more time on the pitch. And maybe in 1,5 years they’ll have a totally different system or Kroos comes back having developed into a player that can fit into their tactical order.

    Hummels is the same case. Bayern had Lucio, Van Buyten, Demichelis and Breno when they decided to give Hummels the chance to play at Bundesliga level. What’s wrong about that? Any other European top class club having two 18-20 year old players taking care of their defense? It’s rubbish to expect that from anyone. Bayern have Breno as a prospect and Demichelis is only 28, he has not even reached his peak. Of course i would have preferred Hummels coming back but it would have been the same situation.

    And why should young players avoid going to Bayern? There are enough examples of young players playing a decent amount of matches for Bayern over the last couple of years (Hargreaves anyone?Schweinsteiger?). Toni Kroos also learned a lot during that time, made his first appearences in UEFA cup and now has the chance to go to another big german club instead of playing 2nd league with Rostock.
    Podolski had several chances to prove he’s worth the Bayern dress but he failed. He’s not able to fit into any tactical scheme or participate in any kind of tactical evolved offense. He’s great for playing with smaller clubs and use his speed and left foot for counter-attacks. But that’s it. He had 3 different coaches in his time at Bayern and he couldn’t impress a single one. Not really the clubs fault, is it?

    And what about players like Lahm, Rensing, Lell, Ottl or Schweinsteiger? All were part of the Bayern youth and they are all getting their match time (Lell played more matches than anyone else in the Bayern squad last season)

    And the ones who can’t make it at Bayern are a helping other clubs to keep up with Bayern. Take only HSV and you’ll find four out of the starting 11 that had their time in Munich (Guerrero, Jansen, Jarolim, Trochowski). Not to mention all the others who benefitted either from Bayern’s youth academy or even their bench time in Munich which earned them high payed contracts at lower clubs.

    Honestly, this issue is not even worth the discussion. A team like Bayern cannot rely on their youngsters only. Loans are a perfect way to combine all interests. The young players get some match time, lower Bundesliga clubs get some very talented young players (often with the option to buy them for a lot less than they’d cost as high talented players from other clubs) and Bayern can decide whether they need them back or not.

    Choosing a club like Bayern (Real, ManUtd, Chelsea, Roma, Milan, Lyon, … ) to play for is always a risky choice but I appreciate those wo try.

  3. Muh

    February 9, 2009 at 12:39 am

    Yeah back to some civilized on topic discussion…

    I can agree with your point that there are some flaws in the BM transfer policy especially when it comes to young talent they bring in sometimes. But here I would rather see examples as schlaudrauff who was bought the same time as podolski and made even less appearance. It looks more like a tendency to overbuy, can’t figure out why though. I guess there will always be tough situation that u basically need 2 complete high class squads if u want to play BL and CL and everything else but can at any given game always only field 11 players.
    Accusing BM of not develope own youth talent however is another matter entirely. Don’t need to list all the names again but they certainly do develope them. And that Hummels is at Dortmund now is actually an argument against your point I would say since he took the other direction away from BM…

    In the end it could be argued that they are BM after all. They need to be succesful and if they buy 3 promising talent and 1 makes it into starter for them in 1, 3 or even 5 years and 2 don’t it still works out in the end. That this is obviously not the best situation for every talents career is another question entirely but it’s in their own responsibility (or the ppl arround them) to decide wether to make some big money for sure now and maybe be able to develope the given potential or to first develope the given potential and maybe make some big money later…

    Have been thinking about it for some months why Kroos was still at BM so been very please to see him move away from BM. What I don’t get though is why he chose Leverkusen. They are arguably the one team in BL where it is almost as hard for him as with BM to get quality playing time because of the quailty competition in offensive creativity. If it is all about playing why not go to HSV or even Schalke (although I don’t think it would be a good career move for anyone to go to Schalke just because they are Schalke, they do have a certain need for highly creative offense talent)

  4. Double Pivot

    February 6, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    Where there’s smoke, there’s fire

    Rummenigge Article

    I don’t think Rumminege would be making such statements if there weren’t obvious flaws in the youth policy

  5. Jan

    February 6, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    nn: no point insulting someone in German on an English blog. If you want to troll then at least don’t hide behind another language. Ansonsten einfach selber Fresse halten wenn man keine Diskussion führen kann.

  6. Double Pivot

    February 6, 2009 at 8:09 am

    Just make a counter argument. You both have solid points and then ruin them with rude remarks. This isn’t the EPL so we don’t have to wallow in our own filth just to be supporters. We can talk football AND be civil.

  7. nn

    February 5, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    wow really ridiculous post…
    please get some information before you publish so much bullshit ^^
    as peter already said we have 5 players from our youth in our squad. (2007 we had even 6 players from our youth on the pitch against mailand in a CL game)
    and why has kroos wasted two years? he is only 19 and has learned a lot in munich, but he is not ready to play in a CL format team…

    there are only 3 or 4 18 to 19 year old players in the BL 9 who are regular starters in their team.
    just search for Macauley Chrisantus, second best player after kroos at u17 wm, now plays for HSV II…
    poldi had his chances and sucked ass, so what, if he cant´t play without his mother, shit happens. bad transfer happens at bayern as often as in ANY other BL team.

    and whats the point with baumjohann? he is a talent but he is already 22, didn´t made it in schalke and is just a better sub in gladbach. so why should it be bayerns fault if this “talent” doesn´t make a big carrer in cottbus or something like that…

    so with best wishes:
    Wenn man keine Ahnung hat einfach mal Fresse halten

  8. Peter

    February 5, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    What are you high? Lell, Lahm, Scweinsteiger, Ottl, Rensing are all in the squad ( 3 of them regulars ) and are getting their chances ( some more than others)… So did Podolski…and guess what? He sucked ass …He played 58 games and scored 12 goals….And yes he was playing enough but did not took his chances. It is his own fault. Besides Toni And Klose are way better than him. Fact.

    You see, big clubs cant take risk on young players to win them matches. They are expected to win …. The only club that can say they developed their own players and won titles is Barcelona and even they bought Etoo, Henry, Ronaldinho, Abidal, Alves ….

    And yes, Bayern is the only big German club. You are just a jealous prick.
    P.S.: Arsenal are not a big club.

  9. Double Pivot

    February 5, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    Well I think Podolski was just found out. As Herr Honigsteing once said, he’s tactically inept and that might work with punt and rush, but not with a technical side like BM.

    Personally I am happy that these kids fail and go and make the league more competitive. However, they could do that without wasting two years of their career as Podolski or Kroos did.

  10. diana

    February 5, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    ‘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.’
    Nice idea. *sarcastic* To think Stewart Downing almost left Boro during the winter transfer window! But then, the club blocked his transfer request. At least it’s good he’s staying around.

    But back to the topic. I am actually worried Baumjohann may become another disappointment. Just look at the case of Lukas Podolski.

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