Eric Dier’s renaissance at Bayern Munich silences the haters

<span><een klas=Eric Dier during the day Bayern‘s quarter-final victory over Arsenal. Victory over Real Madrid will return to Wembley for the Champions League final on Wednesday.Photo: Boris Streubel/Getty” src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3Ng–/ 20128961f4472f8a” data-src= “–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3Ng–/ 8961f4472f8a”/>

“Are you serious? Why? Just why? Now we know Bayern won’t get a trophy this season. Kane needs a friend. Thanks for taking him, love from North London.

This was something Eric Dier would have seen on his Instagram page on January 11th – if he had read the comments. The centre-back had first posted as a Bayern Munich player, following his transfer from Tottenham, and it has to be said that most of the reports were positive. Spurs fans thanked him for his nine and a half seasons with them and wished him well for his next challenge.

The problem with social media is that the haters hit with disproportionate force. And God knows Dier felt it. Rewind to last summer and a photo he uploaded from his wedding day, of himself and his wife Anna, beaming with happiness. “Please leave my club. Now get out!!”

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It takes a special person to get behind the keyboard and type such words, although in Dier’s position it certainly pays not to psychoanalyze too deeply. Suffice to say, he needed his thick skin and it would have gotten thicker over the years.

Animal is not deaf to the abuse. He has a clear idea of ​​how he is seen in England. He feels there is a lack of appreciation for his career and that is probably down to him staying at one club for so long. As former Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger said: “We live in a news society.” In other words, shiny new things.

There is the way Dier plays: his calm and undemonstrative style, which may be at odds with the ideal of the chest-thumping English central defender. Also his lack of pace, which is absolutely shocking in the Premier League where speed in every position seems to be the one thing a player can’t live without. It is the easiest mistake to ridicule. Just ask Manchester United’s Harry Maguire.

When Dier went to Munich, he had hardly played for Spurs in the first five months of the season: one start, three substitutes. Some of the skepticism was understandable, even if the way it was worded left a lot to be desired. Why did the mighty Bayern part ways with Spurs?

It has only made Dier’s revival even sweeter; why it’s one of the comebacks of the season, or even another. As Bayern prepares for Wednesday evening’s Champions League semi-final second leg against Real Madrid at the Bernabéu – the score is 2-2 – Dier will be the first centre-back on Thomas Tuchel’s team sheet.

It’s fitting to follow the story via Dier’s Instagram feed to see how the tone has changed: the trolls darted back to their bedrooms. After playing a leading role in Arsenal’s Champions League quarter-final elimination against Bayern, their silence was worth its weight in gold. The comments on Dier’s post after the second leg were essentially a reflection of the song the Spurs fans used to sing about him. “I love Eric Dier. Eric Dier loves me.” There were references to how ‘agent Dier’ had brought Arsenal over, to what an underrated player he was.

Dier was also solid defensively and calm on the ball in the first leg against Madrid, but he has been that way throughout his time at Bayern. He seized his opportunity when it presented itself and established himself alongside Matthijs De Ligt and ahead of Dayot Upamecano and Kim Min. Yes.

January was a whirlwind for Dier. He signed for one of the biggest clubs in world football, turned 30 and became a father for the first time. His leap from fourth to first in Tuchel’s central defensive pecking order was equally staggering. Guess? At the elite level, there is room for a defender with strong arms, who commands one-on-one in the close quarters, is good in the air and reads the play instinctively.

Dier has never doubted himself and the key to his adjustment at Bayern has been the belief that he belongs there, alongside Manuel Neuer, Joshua Kimmich and Thomas Müller. He is struck by their innate confidence, that of the club as a whole; how winning is the only option. It suits his competitive nature. He loves it.

Bayern had tried to sign Dier last summer and when they got him he was initially loaned out until the end of the season, although if he made three starts it would mean an extra year. The transfer fee was approximately three million euros. Dier has started 16 of a possible 21 games and Bayern are expected to open contract talks with him after the season as he could sign a pre-contract with another club in January.

Spurs wanted Dier to leave last summer; they knew he had no intention of renewing a deal that was set to expire in June this year. He felt like they were trying to get him out. Ange Postecoglou removed him from the team’s leadership group and the new manager saw no role for him in his high defensive line, where the emphasis was on recovery pace. As a side note, Spurs conceded 1.66 goals per league game last season, with Dier being a mainstay of the team. The figure is exactly the same this time.

Dier has no problems with Spurs or Postecoglou. He prefers to look ahead and that also applies to the 2024 European Championship, which will be played in Germany. Dier has 49 caps for England since the World Cup in Qatar, an annoying number so close to a milestone, and he is determined to secure a recall for the final.

Gareth Southgate named six centre-backs in his last England squad: first choices John Stones and Maguire plus Ezri Konsa, Lewis Dunk, Joe Gomez and Jarrad Branthwaite. Marc Guéhi and Levi Colwill were injured. Apart from Stones and Maguire, no one has Dier’s experience. And at the risk of stating the obvious: none of them are playing in the semi-finals of the Champions League.

More immediately, Dier has a different kind of return to England in mind, as the Champions League final will take place at Wembley. Bayern knew what they wanted from him. Could it be more?

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