Douglas Costa’s important role in Bayern Munich’s evolution

The goal for Bayern Munich this season, as in every campaign in the recent memory, will be complete domination both domestically and on the continent.

Since Jupp Heynckes set the bar ridiculously high with a momentous treble in 2012-13, the Bavarian powerhouses and their ardent fanbase expect victory every time the team takes to the pitch – and rightly so.

The quality at coach Pep Guardiola’s disposal is nothing short of frightening, with summer reinforcements adding to the world-class pool of talent in the Catalan trainer’s arsenal.

While Borussia Dortmund may well have something to say about Bayern’s favourites tag in the Bundesliga and Barcelona will take some shifting to win the Champions League, not many will be writing off the Allianz Arena team this season.

Of the new recruits, Arturo Vidal’s arrival adds drive and purpose in midfield, filling the void to some degree left by Bastian Schweinsteiger.

However, arguably more exciting is the signing of Douglas Costa, who has moved to the German juggernauts from Shakhtar Donetsk.

The Brazilian has featured in all three of Bayern’s Bundesliga fixtures this season so far, playing every minute of the victories against Hamburg, Hoffenheim and Bayer Leverkusen.

The 24-year-old has been on the collective radar for some time after star performances for Shakhtar in the Champions League and is one of a host of Brazilian players to leave their homeland as raw talents and forge a name for themselves with the Ukrainian side.

Costa’s undoubted ability has seen him play a role in his national team over the last 12 months, with his fringe role in Brazil’s disappointing Copa America campaign somewhat surprising given the nation’s struggles in the tournament.

Douglas CostaFor Bayern, the former Gremio attacker has fit into Guardiola’s set-up almost seamlessly and has looked immediately like a player that can make the star-studded Bavarians an even more ominous proposition.

After scoring on his Bundesliga debut, Costa’s skill, trickery and pace have been key elements to Bayern’s early season dominance and the South American star looks set to be an important player in the German side’s battle to reach their objectives this season.

Costa’s signature may well be another example of the Bavarians splurging on ready-made talent instead of delving into their prestigious youth academy, but on this occasion it feels that the expenditure was necessary.

This is because Bayern have known for a number of years that finding long-term replacements for ageing wingers Franck Ribéry and Arjen Robben has been an increasing priority.

With both flying widemen in their early 30’s, there is no need to relegate the duo to fringe status just yet but at the same time neither will be able to perform at the top level forever.

Although Robben’s penetration on the break looks as ominous as ever, Ribéry’s importance at Bayern has dissipated considerably over recent years.

Injury worries have restricted the France international’s availability, with the 32-year-old not featuring so far this season, starting only nine Bundesliga games last term and beginning only 18 matches the campaign before.

As such, having someone like Costa who is ready to step-in and perform is an essential addition if Bayern are to continue to be German football’s top dogs.

Costa already has added another direct threat to Bayern’s play and with Ribéry’s return still some way off, it feels like a changing of the guard to some degree at the Allianz Arena.

By
I am a freelance football journalist from Northern Ireland living in Broome in Western Australia. I have worked for top media outlets such as FourFourTwo, goal.com, Soccerlens, Football Fancast and Here is the City. I am a lifelong and long-suffering Tottenham fan. Follow me on Twitter at @90MinsOnline
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