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Following the former defensive additions, the German giants have created a team that can contend for top European honours

COMMENT
By Clark Whitney | German Football Editor

There were dozens of last-minute signings before the transfer window closed on Wednesdy, but for Bayern Munich, "silly season" ended on a completely serious note. There were no blockbuster deals, no shock moves; the only word from Sabener Strasse was the not-so-shocking revelation that Franck Ribery would not be sold to Chelsea.

In truth, the transfer window could have closed in mid-July and Bayern still would have been satisfied. By that time they had completed all their dealings; the only outstanding issue was whether Arturo Vidal would sign, and as events would unfold, he did not.

Bayern's inability to secure Vidal was one of the few blemishes on an otherwise sparkling transfer campaign. They went into the summer needing a goalkeeper, and signed the best possible candidate in Manuel Neuer. They needed a full-back, and found in Rafinha a right-sided defender who was among the Bundelsliga's very best just a year prior. With the arrival of Jerome Boateng, their first central defensive addition since 2008, the Bavarians finally found a qualified partner for Holger Badstuber. And critically, Bayern had their first team decided long before the beginning of the season, meaning they were well prepared.

In lower-profile dealings, Bayern brought in 2. Bundesliga top scorer Nils Petersen, a somewhat unproven but nonetheless prolific striker, to replace the outgoing Miroslav Klose, and Takashi Usami to serve as a back-up attacking player. Neither has been given much time to impress, but both have potential that may become evident as they settle.


BAYERN MUNICH


PLAYERS IN
Name From €m
Jerome Boateng
Manchester City
13.5
Manuel Neuer
Schalke
18
Nils Petersen
Energie Cottbus 2.8
Rafinha Genoa 7
Takashi Usami
Gamba Osaka
Loan
  Total Fees 41.3m


PLAYERS OUT
Name To €m
Hamit Altintop
Real Madrid
Free
Mehmet Ekici
Werder Bremen
5
Thomas Kraft
Hertha BSC
Free
Miroslav Klose
 Lazio Free
Andreas Ottl Hertha BSC Free
  Total Fees 5m

Overall, Bayern can be pleased with their additions, even if they did not quite manage to land every target. Rafinha was their second choice behind Fabio Coentrao, who joined Real Madrid; Boateng was their third option, with Christian Nerlinger having preferred Mats Hummels and Benedikt Howedes. And then there is the missed chance to sign Vidal, whose influence alongside Bastian Schweinsteiger might have taken the German record champions to the next level. But results speak for themselves: Bayern hit the ground running in August, having out-scored opponents 15-1 and won six of seven games to start the season.

A team's quality is not measured in the margin of victory against teams like Eintracht Braunschweig and Kaiserslautern, of course, and it would be pre-mature to rate Bayern on par with the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid. The fitness of Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery in the big games will play a huge role in determining how far they go in Europe, and there are still doubts as to whether the Bayern back five can contain an elite attack.

Even so, Jupp Heynckes has reinvented the German giants since taking over as head coach, and his team looks balanced, resolute, and confident on a regular basis. Few sides can boast the individual quality, much less the collective spirit that the four-time European champions have: if there is one team that can dethrone the Spanish heavyweights, it's Bayern.

GOALKEEPER

Manuel Neuer


RIGHT-BACK
CENTRE BACK
CENTRE BACK
LEFT-BACK

Rafinha

Jerome Boateng

Holger Badstuber

Philipp Lahm


DEFENSIVE MIDFIELD
DEFENSIVE MIDFIELD

Luiz Gustavo

Bastian Schweinsteiger


RIGHT WING
ATTACKING MIDFIELD
LEFT WING

Arjen Robben

Thomas Muller

Franck Ribery


CENTRE FORWARD

Mario Gomez




PLAYERS IN
Name From €m
Michele Pazienza Napoli Free
Mirko Vucinic
Roma
15
 Stephan Lichsteiner
Lazio
10
 Arturo Vidal
 Leverkusen 10
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