In a season that has been far from smooth sailing, it is a sign of their fortitude that Bayern Munich still find themselves top of the Bundesliga and one man that has been a constant for them has been Thiago.
After a shaky start to the 2019/20 campaign culminated in the dismissal of manager Robert Kovac following an embarrassing 5-1 defeat at the hands of Eintracht Frankfurt, it initially looked as though Bayern’s stranglehold on the Meisterschale would be coming to an end – especially with the likes of RB Leipzig, Borussia Monchengladbach and Borussia Dortmund waiting to pounce.
But the appointment of Hans-Dieter Flick as Kovac’s successor – initially in a caretaker capacity – steadied the ship and they have now won 11 of their past 12 matches in all competition, with the only blemish a 0-0 draw against title rivals Leipzig.
Thiago – Bayern Munich’s Midfield Maestro
Leading the Bundesliga by a point, holding a 3-0 first-leg lead over Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 and into the quarter-finals of the DFB-Pokal, Bayern remarkably remain firmly on course for much success this term and one man that has played a key role has been midfield maestro Thiago.
He may not grab the headlines in the manner which the record-breaking Robert Lewandowski does or regularly gets fans off their seats like Philippe Coutinho and Serge Gnabry, but the Brazilian is the man that keeps Bayern ticking in the engine room.
Since moving to the Allianz Arena from Barcelona in 2013, Thiago has established himself as one of the most-gifted technicians in the Bundesliga.
Considering he learnt his trade at Barca’s famed La Masia academy, it is no surprise that the Spain international is blessed with supreme technique that is married perfectly to his vision on the field.
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Nonetheless, that fact that the 28-year-old also has provides plenty of bite in the contest – at times seemingly relishing doing the dirty work as well – means that, while he might otherwise have been typecast as a stereotypical No. 10, he has actually fitted seamlessly in the heart of midfield and is more involved in the thick of things.
For a man who is usually tasked to get Bayern going forward, he impressively boasts 91.3 per cent pass completion rate this season from 1,429 attempts in open play – a ratio that he has maintained for much of his career.
While – expectedly from the position he plays in – he is not usually known for being prolific in front of goal, he did have fine run right after the mid-season break when he netted in three consecutive matches to help his side to victories over Hertha Berlin, Schalke and Mainz.
On Saturday, Bayern will be looking to stay top of the table when they visit Hoffenheim, who inflicted a shock 2-1 defeat on the defending champions Bayern last October.
With Thiago in excellent form as he keeps the engine room ticking, Bayern could just be poised to exact revenge and continue their charges towards an 8th consecutive Meisterschale.