FIFA 17: Bayern Munich Career Mode Guide

Without a European crown in nearly four years, can you take Bayern Munich back to the top?

Alastair Pusinelli by Alastair Pusinelli

Bayern Munich are, without question, a footballing powerhouse. Their rise back to the top of European football over the past decade has been magnificent, with the shrewd signings of Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery aided by the academy talents of Philipp Lahm and Thomas Muller. Their side is now one of the most complete in the world, and this is well represented on FIFA 17, making the German giants one of the most popular sides to manage on Career Mode. Four league titles in a row show how dominant they have been in the Bundesliga, but the Champions League has been a significantly harder nut to crack, with just one triumph since victory in 2001. You have the core ingredients with Bayern, but with the squad just about to enter a turning point as the ageing greats are ready to step down for the young talent, can you maintain or even improve Bayern’s success?

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How you should line-up

Picking the Bayern Munich side is more difficult than most, with a lot of contenders in central midfield. That makes your choice of a formation with 4-4-2, 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 all possible choices, but your best bet may just be to opt for the 4-4-1-1 attack system.

The goalkeeper and back five is arguably the best in the world, with Manuel Neuer in between the sticks behind captain Philipp Lahm, Jerome Boateng, new signing Mats Hummels and David Alaba.

There’s plenty of experience in midfield with Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery on the flanks and box-to-box men Thiago and Arturo Vidal in central midfield. You could choose to bring the more defensively minded Javi Martinez against the bigger sides to give your defence more protection. Thomas Muller will operate in the hole behind star striker Robert Lewandowski.

On the bench, there is plenty of firepower. Sven Ulreich, Joshua Kimmich, Javi Martinez, Xabi Alonso, Juan Bernat, Douglas Costa and Kingsley Coman will be the men to bring on to change the game. Consider having the very talented Renato Sanches on the bench to offer a box-to-box option, and you’ll want to give the 19-year-old Portuguese as much playing time as possible.

The transfer market

Starting transfer budget: £81 million

Starting wage budget: £311,000

Who should go

At Bayern Munich, only the best will do. With Bayern set to go under a period of transition, it’s time to get rid of any players that aren’t of FC Hollywood’s standard, meaning that seven players should be heading out of the Allianz Arena.

The highest profile name is Xabi Alonso. There is still no doubting the Spaniard’s quality, but with a rating of 83, he only makes the bench, and his age of 34 means that this will start to decline rapidly. Joshua Kimmich and Javi Martinez can both perform his holding midfield role, so there is no real need for the ex-Liverpool and Real Madrid man. With just one year remaining on his contract, you won’t get much for him, and you’ll be looking at a fee of just £2 million for the defensive and central midfielder.

Rafinha, the name rings a bell, doesn’t it? The 30-year-old right back often struggles to make the bench at Bayern Munich, and with Philipp Lahm and the versatile Josh Kimmich in front of him in the pecking order, it’s time for him to leave. He too only has a year left on his contract, and once again, £2 million should be your target.

The arrival of Mats Hummels from Borussia Dortmund spelt bad news for Medhi Benatia – who has been sent on loan to Juventus – and German centre-half Holger Badstuber. At the age of 27, the defender has already maxed out his potential at 79 and has Martinez and Kimmich one again in front of him. The centre and left back can be sold for around £4.5 million.

Then comes the real fringe players who will wait months just to get a place on the bench. Julian Green and Tom Starke are only in the squad as injury cover, with Erdal Ozturk and Felix Gotze not of the Bayern standard. You will be looking to collect just under £2 million for all four of them.

What the team needs

If you make those sales, your transfer budget will hit £90 million, and a perfect pre-season tournament will take you beyond £100 million. But with Bayern Munich’s first team so strong, you should look for young players that can come into the starting line-up over the next five seasons.

Manuel Neuer is now 30, and he will still be the Bayern Munich number one for the next five years. But there would be no harm in looking for a long-term goalkeeping replacement, with the 77-rated Sven Ulreich not the most reliable of back-ups. If you can find a goalie that can step up in the case of injury as well as, at some point in the future, be able to become the first choice goalie, you are sorted. Someone who fits this category like a dream is AC Milan’s Gianluigi Donnarumma. The 17-year-old ousted Diego Lopez as the Milan number one and his rating of 77 and a potential of 88 makes him perfect for Bayern. The Italian offers 84 reflexes, 80 diving and 73 handling which will all increase over the next 15 or more seasons. With only two seasons left on his contract, he will cost no more than £25 million.

Alternatives:

–       Alban Lafont, Toulouse, Age 17, OVR 76, POT 88, Cost: £25 million, Wage: £720

–       Ederson, Benfica, Age 22, OVR 79, POT 86, Cost: £27 million, Wage: £36,000

–       Sergio Rico, Sevilla, Age 22, OVR 80, POT 85, Cost: £26 million, Wage: £36,000

With Phillip Lahm now 32, he only has a maximum of two seasons remaining with the first team at Bayern. His sprint speed has already dropped to 67, so it may be worth bringing in a pacey right back who could come in for the skipper if playing against a pacey left winger. A Lahm-Neymar battle is only going to end one way. If you’re thinking young, promising pacey right backs, then Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin is the man to go for. The 21-year-old Spaniard has 96 acceleration, 94 sprint speed and 84 stamina, and you’ll be looking at a bid of £34 million to get hold of him. With a starting overall of 80 and a potential of 87, it is a no-brainer.

Alternatives:

–       Serge Aurier – PSG, Age 23, OVR 83, POT 88, Cost: £43 million, Wage: £65,000

–       Dani Carvajal – Real Madrid, Age 24, OVR 83, POT 86, Cost: £40 million, Wage: £65,000

–       Joao Cancelo – Valencia, Age 22, OVR 79, POT 86, Cost: £27 million, Wage: £36,000

–       Alessandro Florenzi – Roma, Age 25, OVR 82, POT 85, Cost: £30 million, Wage: £65,000

–       Nathaniel Clyne – Liverpool, Age 25, OVR 81, POT 85, Cost: £30 million, Wage: £43,000

–       Hugo Mallo – Celta Vigo, Age 25, OVR 80, POT 85, Cost: £28 million, Wage: £22,000

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Loans

After your sales, you may not have much room to work with and could be down to as little as 20 players. Two signings take you to 22, which is still quite a small squad. Bayern have many versatile players, but a couple of injuries could leave you in trouble. The only two players you could consider sending out on loan for the season would be Fabian Benko and Niklas Dorsch. Their 61 and 59 ratings mean that it is very unlikely that you will need them, but their 79 and 78 potentials make them worth keeping around.

Contracts

Despite their age, you will still want Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery in and around the squad for a couple of seasons to come. Both of their deals are up at the end of the season, so you should look into giving them a one or two year contract extension.

Kingsley Coman’s loan runs out this season, so make sure you have £20 million in the bank come May time, with signing the Frenchman on a permanent deal being vital.

The contracts of Xabi Alonso, Rafinha, Holger Badstuber, Julian Green, Tom Starke and Felix Gotze all run out at the end of the campaign, but these are the players that you will consider selling. If you are worried about squad depth, there is no harm in giving one or two of these players fresh deals.

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Managerial objectives

Of course, domestic and continental glories are paramount for Bayern Munich. The Bundesliga should be a shoo-in for your side, with current league leaders RB Leipzig unlikely to cause you any trouble on FIFA 17. Only four or five teams can harm you in the league, but given the Bayern squad, you will be able to go on a ten game or more winning run relatively comfortably. As for Europe, you will be asked to win the ‘Champions Cup’ within two seasons, but your best opportunity perhaps comes in your first season, whilst you still have Philipp Lahm, Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery at their best.

Away from the footballing action, brand exposure is just as important than bringing home trophies. Fortunately, one takes care of the other as your brand exposure objectives can be achieved by shirt sales, controlled by bringing in big names and performing well on the pitch. As for youth development, you will be encouraged to bring on a youth player and give them some game time, and with the relatively small squad that you have with Bayern, this is very helpful. As you would expect, there are no financial restrictions at the German champions.

Take German football back to the top

Germany lifted the World Cup back in 2014, but strangely, since then German football has had a slight lull. Bayern last went to a Champions League final in 2013, when they lifted the trophy over rivals Borussia Dortmund, then the national team lost to hosts France in the semi-finals of Euro 2016.

German football has obviously not gone anywhere, but perhaps with the lack of challenge to Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga, it may have stagnated slightly. That lack of competition domestically leads to complacency, and when the Champions League fixtures come around, the players are not in top form. So, this needs to change. Bayern have the players to do the treble, for they achieved it in 2013 with arguably a weaker squad.

The Champions Cup should be your focus, and if you start the season well, the Bundesliga should take care of itself. A semi-final appearance in Europe should be your minimum aim, with Barcelona and Real Madrid the only sides that can match up to your squad man-for-man. The German cup should take a backseat, but it provides a great opportunity for the likes of Joshua Kimmich and Renato Sanches to get some game-time. They are more than useful replacements, and if you get your squad rotation right, that treble can be achieved.

Have any other tips? Let us know in the comments.

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Alastair Pusinelli

First console: GameBoy Color / Favourite Game: Assassin's Creed 2 / Currently playing: Football Manager 2020

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