New FC Bayern coach Pep Guardiola (r.) has suggested Franck Ribery could be deployed away from his favoured left-hand side
New FC Bayern coach Pep Guardiola (r.) has suggested Franck Ribery could be deployed away from his favoured left-hand side

Guardiola elaborates on Ribery role

Munich - There has been no shortage of speculation as to what changes Pep Guardiola might affect now he's officially behind the FC Bayern wheel.

Hint hint

French flier Franck Ribery, for one, has already assumed No10 duties in the pre-season victory over Weiden: an idea Bayern's Catalan schemer is by no means averse to in the long run.

"I know what Franck's best position is," said Guardiola on Thursday. "He has almost always played as a winger, but sometimes for the French national side he's also slotted in behind the striker."

With that in mind, it's worth taking a look at the raw statistics concerning Ribery's previous performances in his seemingly preferred position out on the left-hand side and his displays as a right winger, attacking midfielder and in support of the lone striker.

The facts

Since joining the Bavarians in June 2007, Ribery has racked up 156 Bundesliga appearances, 146 of which have seen the Frenchman stationed on the left flank, including the last 107. The fact that the 2012/13 campaign was arguably his most successful in a Bayern shirt - exhibit A: 13 league goals and exhibit B: 27 assists - speaks volumes. Safe to say his deployment elsewhere on the field of play has not been anywhere near as fruitful.

In the ten games in which Ribery found himself out of position so to speak - that's four in the middle of the park, five off the shoulder of the striker and one on the right-hand side - the France international found the net just once; bear in mind he has scored 52 times in the Bundesliga. Moreover, his only outing as a right-sided midfielder ended in a 3-1 defeat to Stuttgart (November 2007), while he collected his first red card lining up as a support striker 17 months later.

"Trying things out"

Clearly, the numbers don't lie, but if he is to make the successful transition into the No10 role or otherwise, Guardiola is undoubtedly the right man to oversee the job and provide Ribery with the necessary platform to post a brand new set of figures.

"It's important for me to see whether the players can function in other positions," explained Guardiola. "I know where [they] can play, but I need more information. That's why I'll be trying things out in the friendlies." As if one incarnation of the record Bundesliga champions was not enough.

Christopher Mayer-Lodge