Bayern Munich suddenly have an abundance of options at right-back. Last summer’s transfer window addition Noussair Mazraoui is on the mend after post-COVID complications from the FIFA Men’s World Cup. And Benjamin Pavard and Manchester City loanee João Cancelo combined in the same XI to power the Bavarians to a 5-3 victory over Augsburg on Saturday.
“Big compliment to Benji,” Bayern sporting director Hasan “Brazzo” Salihamidžić said after the game (via Az’s Maximilian Koch, as captured by @iMiaSanMia). “He’s been one of the outstanding players in the past 4-6 weeks — he comes to training every day with a smile. As for everything else, we will see.”
Pavard’s contract runs to June 2024, so this summer will be the decision point for whether to stay in Munich or leave. Mazraoui’s ascendancy at right-back as well as Cancelo’s arrival could limit his minutes, but not if the Frenchman can establish himself at right center-back in a back-three. And with two spectacular goals against Augsburg, Pavard showed the full range of his prowess even from central defense.
As for Cancelo? Will the Pep Guardiola-trained Portuguese stay after his loan term ends? The sometimes left-back, sometimes right-back flashed his skills at right wing-back with a goal and an assist. The €70m buy clause in his loan deal may need to get negotiated down for him to stay, but so far, it seems clear that the player has something to offer — and manager Julian Nagelsmann appreciates him.
“A sensational player,” Brazzo concurred. “He’s trained very well over the past week and found that desire again. There’s hardly any other player in Europe that good in tight spaces.”
If you want more coverage of the match, check out our Postgame Show on Spotify or below!