The potential impact of returning Bernat, Rafinha and Ribéry

While much media coverage is being given to the return of Medhi Benatia and Mario Götze, fewer outlets are discussing the comebacks of three potentially vital players to Bayern Munich: Juan Bernat, Franck Ribéry and Rafinha.

With Juan Bernat, Rafinha and Franck Ribéry all nearing a return, Bayern Munich is hopefully getting healthier. We will take a look at how they could change the game.

Juan Bernat

Juan Bernat was one of the team’s best players last season, and many thought that he could even provide David Alaba some competition for the left-back position or at the very least give Alaba the opportunity he has always wanted to play as a midfielder.

However his sophomoric slump has been almost as impressive (in the worst possible way) this year. Bernat disappointed all year up until his injury which has kept him out of the game for some time. It is sad in a way that Bayern fans simply did not really miss him that much or even seem to notice he was gone.

Bernat will soon be returning at a time when there are so many injuries there is no better time for the young Spaniard to earn his spot again and make it up. If Bernat can find his form, he could be a major boost to the Bavarians as they go forward into the season and try to progress in the Champions League.

Part of what could make Bernat such a boost is that, when playing well, he can allow other players to fill in at the centre-back position such as Alaba – who has proven to be somewhat effective there in the past.

If he can be trusted to hold down the left-back spot without being a liability, Alaba can probably be a strong contender for a free role where he often plays as a centre-back, defensive midfielder, left-back and left winger in a single game. This will allow for Bernat to combine with Douglas Costa as he sees fit.

That is, however, assuming he can get back to form. There is no reason to doubt that Juan Bernat has a future with Bayern Munich and can be the player he was last season. Hopefully he will do it sooner rather than later.

Rafinha

Rafinha is a player who, for some reason, receives a lot of hate for reasons that do not make much sense. The only reason I can think of is that he is a downgrade to Philipp Lahm, but realistically, any right-back in the world would have been a downgrade to Bayern’s captain.

Often times Rafinha is seen as a liability, when the truth is he has been very excellent under Pep Guardiola. The coach has raised his level considerably. He has been even missed at times this season as Lahm loses his mark more often (meaning it actually happens now) and there has been nobody to give him a rest.

Rafinha coming back is good for several reasons. This allows Lahm to rest a bit more or occasionally play in midfield, which he may be required to do at times. Not only that, but the Brazilian has played centre-back before with some success. He is not the first choice many Bayern fans or even Guardiola would have for the position but he can do it.

Ultimately, Rafinha gives Bayern Munich and Pep Guardiola options again that they have lacked for some time. He is fairly versatile in defense and can either give Philipp Lahm a likely much needed rest or he can allow him to shift into defensive midfield if required.

Franck Ribéry

This is a tricky one for a lot of reasons. For starters, it is very unlikely that too many Bayern fans are getting their hopes up. We all know what Franck Ribéry is capable of when he is healthy. Even this season, in the brief moments when the Frenchman has been able to step onto the pitch, he played quite well and even scored a goal. There is zero doubt of the man’s talent or passion for the club.

It is early to talk about the impact Ribéry will have without first discussing how the club should handle his return. He cannot be rushed back again. The club needs to make sure this does not happen, because otherwise the club will have another case of the Frenchman on the sidelines for the rest of the season.

Assuming that Ribéry can stay fit for a good stretch of matches, he can have a large impact on the club. He has the ability to still start games for Bayern Munich if he can once again reach full match fitness.

Ribéry will have to rotate with an excellent Douglas Costa, but he can still add his unique attacking flair and be a major offensive asset to the team. He can be a major part of the solution to what has looked like a very stagnant offense from Bayern Munich.

Ultimately, there is no reason to hope for much. It is just too hard to rely on Ribéry right now, even if we as fans all want to. We can only hope that he proves everyone wrong.

Hopefully getting healthy for good

The injury crisis has hopefully reached its height and will start to get better. The return of Bernat, Rafinha, and Ribéry have the potential to be a massive boost to the club as they move through the Bundeliga and try and win a Champions League with Guardiola.

[su_label] Post editor: Zahra[/su_label]