A familiar “Brandt”
With the certain departures of Philipp Lahm and Xabi Alonso, two old-stars will leave the club in the summer.
In 2017/18 there will be only two older players (Ribéry and Robben) of the “treble generation 2013” left. Both signed a one-year extension earlier this season. Over the past few months it also became clear that they are not capable to play over 75% games in the future.
Ribéry played under 50% while Robben, with fewer injuries, only reached just about 50% of the possible playing time. As a consequence alternatives will be needed, especially on the wings.
Due to the fact that both, Costa and Coman suffered from injuries and did not reach a convincing performance level regularly, it is quite obvious that FC Bayern is looking for additions to the squad. Julian Brandt could be a suitable player. He currently plays for Bayer Leverkusen where he arrived from the VfL Wolfsburg’s youth academy in 2013/14. It was FC Bayern’s current technical director Michael Reschke, who initially discovered his potential.
In three years at Leverkusen he played 90 games in the Bundesliga. The 20-year-old contributed to 34 goals in total, with 17 goals scored and 17 assists.
Right now his stats show two goals and seven assists so far this season. Unfortunately he had to deal with some major struggles of the whole team at Leverkusen, which certainly had an impact on him as well. After one good game there often was a bad one coming up quite regularly. But it would not be fair to take him responsible for the all around struggles after a long and hard year in 2016.
He played at the Olympic games after missing out on the EURO in the summer. With the German youth team Brandt managed to reach the silver medal collecting nine assists and a man of the match award in the quarter-final against Portugal.
Strengths and weaknesses
For a player of his age he has an exceptional understanding of the game. With his right-foot, he likes to cut inside from the left wing to finish. In general Brandt takes about 1.5 shots per game and wins around 2.3 dribblings. In both categories he is the leader for Bayer Leverkusen. In addition to that, another strength is his passing quality. With 1.5 key passes he is also one of the best players for Bayer 04.
In comparison to all Bundesliga players, he has the third most final passes per 90 minutes, just behind Ribéry and Robben. Regarding duels his stats are also quite solid although players like Costa or Dembele are much more effective.
In total his dribbling stats are not bad at all. However you might have to add that the aggressive approach of Bayer 04 under Roger Schmidt was a huge benefit for Brandt’s game in the past.
Another exceptional factor is his shooting technique. At the beginning of 2016 he managed to score in six Bundesliga games in a row. No player under 20 has done that ever before.
One of his biggest weaknesses is pace. He certainly is not the fastest player. Running over defences like Costa or Coman is not an option for Brandt. This might be a problem at FC Bayern, where opponents tend to track back a lot defensively. So far he is lacking the skillset to create something all of a sudden.
Julian Brandt has a lot of potential and fits perfectly into FC Bayern’s intentions to rejuvenate the squad. Players like Kimmich, Sanches and Coman are dedicated to have a massive impact in the 2020s in Munich.
He could become one of them very soon. Bild reported that a fee around 30 Million Euros is necessary to acquire him in the summer, which would not be that much of a risk. The current situation of Bayer Leverkusen in the end might be a positive factor for FC Bayern as well.
If the team misses out on qualifying for the European cups, they are almost forced to lower their squad costs to earn some money. There are also rumours floating around that Brandt has a release clause for the summer of 2018. All that may cause pressure on Bayer 04 to react a year early.
However the first year, with Ribéry and Robben as vital players (and Costa, Coman) for the squad will be a huge challenge for him. There will be five players for only two starting spots available.
Considering all attributes Brandt brings to the table, he fits into common pattern of FC Bayern’s transfer targets in the early century. Young, talented and already a German international.
Together with Süle and also Rudy (who is a little bit older) he can be described as a perfect match.