Four days ago, Bayern Munich had no plans to improve their squad during the January transfer window. The starting XI was strong, and each position had at least one or two replacements available from the bench.
That has changed dramatically in recent days.
It began on Saturday, when Holger Badstuber sustained a cruciate ligament tear that will keep him sidelined until the season's end. Just how badly the Germany international will be missed is unknown.
But at least Bayern had another solid pairing possible in Dante and Jerome Boateng. Until Wednesday, that is.
With the Bavarians leading BATE in their Champions League Group F finale, Boateng dived into a foolish challenge that was awarded with a red card. While he will be available in Bayern's upcoming Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal matches, he faces a three-match suspension that will see him miss out on the Champions League Round of 16 and the first half of the quarterfinals, should the German giants progress.
Make no mistake: This is serious trouble for Bayern.
While it's true that Daniel Van Buyten experienced a renaissance of form when called upon last season, the Belgian's weak knees have limited his availability, even as a substitute, in 2012-13. He will be 35 by the time the knockout rounds begin, and whether he will be up to the task of playing at the highest level is in serious doubt.
Luiz Gustavo, Anatoliy Tymoshchuk and Javi Martinez have all played in defense in the past, but none have the class to take on a team like Real Madrid, whom Bayern could face in February. Gustavo and Tymoshchuk have not been used in such a role since the managing days of Louis van Gaal, and Bayern's defense was a joke when they were. Martinez would seem a more credible option, but Atletico Madrid's Radamel Falcao ruthlessly exposed him as a midfielder—not a defender—in the 2012 Europa League final.
Bayern may well need a new face for their back four.
To Bayern's good fortune, the January transfer window opens and closes between now and the Round of 16, and they can find a short-term solution in the meantime.
Read on for a rundown of the possible options.