When Holger Badstuber sustained a cruciate ligament tear a week ago, it was a huge loss for Bayern. The German record champions may have a ready-made replacement in Jerome Boateng, but the 24-year-old has done little to inspire confidence.
In midweek, Boateng was sent off for a rash, high challenge on BATE striker Vitali Rodionov. There were suggestions that coach Jupp Heynckes might replace Boateng with Daniel van Buyten for the Augsburg match, but the trainer kept faith with the ex-Hamburg defender.
Facing just one striker in Sascha Mölders, Bayern were expected to have very little trouble at the back. Boateng invited danger, however. Just five minutes into the game, the German international's rather loose pass from the back was blocked, allowing FCA to break. Only some very good defending by Dante, plus a little luck in Mölders losing track of the ball's location, saw Bayern avoid conceding.
Shortly into the second half, Mölders ran Boateng inside out near the edge of the box, and again the defender needed help to spare his blushes. Bayern didn't concede on Saturday, but Augsburg have a dreadful attack and should never have had as many clear-cut chances as they carved out.
The trouble with Boateng is that he lacks even the most basic sense of judgment and is either arrogant of or oblivious to his physical superiority. He is fast, tall and powerful, and theoretically, no striker should be able to get too far away from him.
And yet, Boateng regularly finds himself in the wake of smaller, slower and/or weaker players. Consider how easily Didier Drogba, in his old age, won headers against Boateng and drifted into free space during the Champions League final.
As for Boateng's judgment, Heynckes was spot-on when he commented on the tackle against Vitali Rodionov, asserting "There is absolutely no need to go into that tackle with a 25-meter run-up."
Indeed, certainly not with your team ahead and the ball in midfield.
These next few months are critical for Boateng's future as a Bayern player. He can expect to have his chances, but if the Bavarians are to have any success in tournament play, they will need much more from him, or for Badstuber to make his return, whichever comes first.