Bayern Munich's bench on Saturday was a message for those clubs wishing to challenge them.
With the onset of Financial Fair Play, Premier League sides – or at least a few of them – have some thinking to do. But after Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho used the new regulations as a potential silver-lining should he need to part with the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Thibaut Courtois, there is also the need to compete with Europe’s best…or at least try to.
Of all the sides in England’s top flight, Chelsea and Manchester City are currently best equipped (in terms of squad) to compete with Europe’s finest in their flagship club competition, and both are preparing to step back into those heady waters in the coming days.
But a quick glance at one club’s substitutes’ bench on Saturday showed just how much of a challenge it will be for any side wishing to take their crown.
Bayern Munich beat Freiburg 4-0, with some of their second-string coming to the fore – Xherdan Shaqiri netting twice and Claudio Pizzaro scoring the fourth. But it was the sight of their bench that would have surely made their rivals (both domestic and further afield) realise how much work needs to be done to match them.
Pep Guardiola’s bench consisted of Mario Gotze, Thiago Alcantara, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Daniel Van Buyten, Jerome Boateng, David Alaba and goalkeeper Tom Starke…and they won 4-0!
Yes, Freiburg are struggling, but the strength-in-depth at Guardiola’s disposal is terrifying.
So while English clubs will have to adhere to the rules, they will also be hoping to build the squads that can compete with the current European champions. And that is before you even include the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid.
In short, if one of the four English clubs in this season’s Champions League hold the trophy aloft come May, it may be a bigger achievement than ever before.
image: © jiazi