The reigning Bundesliga champions go into the winter break in an entirely unfamiliar position, sitting a lowly third in the table, four points behind league leaders RB Leipzig.
The seven-time-consecutive champions have endured a half-season of highs and lows – recording their second-largest away win in Champions League history under the guidance of a manager who would lose his job five weeks later.
Sporting director Hasan Salihamidžić has suggested that it is unlikely to be a transfer window of major activity, but given the ferocity of the competition, and Bayern’s current position, it seems that the Bavarian giants may not be able to sit idly by as their title rivals splash the cash.
So, here’s who they should be looking to bring in if they want to make it eight in a row.
Malang Sarr (Centre-Back)
Bayern Munich have the sixth-best defensive record in the Bundesliga this season, which, by their lofty standards, is tantamount to sixth-worst. Bayern have conceded two or more goals in seven league games already this season. To put that in perspective, they only let in two or more goals a grand total of six times in the entirety of the last campaign.
Whilst the additions of Lucas Hernandez and Benjamin Pavard in the summer were made to prevent these deficiencies, the fitness of the former and performance of the latter have highlighted the need for defensive reinforcements.
Malang Sarr could be the answer to these defensive woes. The 21-year-old Nice centre-back is coming into his fourth season of regular football in a top league, with his consistent selection in the club’s third-place season of 2016/17 particularly impressive. With the alarming deuteriation of Jerome Boateng, Sarr’s arrival cannot be soon enough.
Samuel Chukwueze (Right Wing)
If the German behemoths were to take an educated risk on Samuel Chukwueze, the comparisons with Arjen Robben would never end and undoubtedly pile unwanted pressure on the young man’s shoulders. However, he hasn’t signed yet so let’s point out the similarities now.
The Nigerian right winger heavily favours his left foot and does anything he can to work the ball on his favoured side to get a shot off. When the electric 20-year-old is on form, he makes for unmissable TV but – at this early age – remains somewhat inconsistent.
The fleet-footed forward hardly ever drives to the byline to deliver a cross but maybe the sight of Robert Lewandowski with his arms aloft, as opposed to Karl Toko-Ekambi, will encourage the Villarreal starlet to release the ball.
Niklas Stark (Centre-Back)
Niklas Stark has been a long term target for Bayern Munich and the German champions often favour shopping locally to not only improve their team, but weaken opponents.
The 24-year-old German could be the long-term successor to Javi Martinez, with his ability to play in central defence and midfield. Stark is commanding in the air, possesses a no-nonsense approach to tackles, has great distribution and intelligent positioning — qualities that would make him a worthy inclusion to the Bayern squad.
Leroy Sané (Left Wing)
Leroy Sané’s stock has only risen with every point Manchester City have dropped. The dynamic winger tore his ACL in the Community Shield which scuppered any hopes of deal being done between the clubs in the summer.
Sané’s injury was severe and the 23-year-old is yet to train with his teammates, but it was reported that the German international could make a return as soon as next month.
Should Sané be fit as soon as January, along with the chequered injury history of Bayern’s current left winger, Kingsley Coman, it would be a no-brainer for Bayern to snap up Manchester City’s man.
Unai Núñez (Centre-Back)
The 22-year-old Unai Núñez plays as a centre back for Athletic Club in Spain, with his quality drawing interest from top sides across Europe. Robust in defence, strong in the air, confident on the ball, and possessing good passing ability, he ticks most, if not all, of the requirements to excel in central defence.
Despite all this, the defender has only featured in a third of Athletic Club’s league fixtures this season, so persuading him to swap Bilbao for Bavaria may not prove too difficult.