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Player Profile - Douglas Costa

Bayern’s Brazilian Superstar

Personal information
Full name: Douglas Costa de Souza
Date of birth: 14 September 1990 
Age: 25
Place of birth: Sapucaia do Sul, Brazil
Height: 1.72 m (5 ft 7 1⁄2 in)
Playing position: Winger

Club information
Current team: Bayern Munich
Number: 11

Youth career
2001–2002: Novo Hamburgo
2002–2008: Gremio

Senior career
2008 – 2010: Gremio 37 Appearances, 2 goals
2010 – 2015: Shakhtar Donetsk 191 Appearances, 37 goals
2015 – Bayern Munich 20 Appearances, 5 goals    

National team
2009: Brazil U20 12 Appearances, 4 goals
2014 – Brazil 21 Appearances, 5 goals

It’s not at all easy to justify a 30 million price tag to the fans, for yourself and for your very own manager, when you’ve represented the Brazilian National Team just 10 times in your entire career. And with players bathing and rolling in buckets of money in the Premier League, the question of a move to England will always pop up, especially if you’ve moved to Bayern Munich despite of everything else. People would scoff at the fee but it’s up to the player to prove them wrong and the manager’s faith in your abilities, plays a vital part too. And Douglas Costa’s capture by Pep Guardiola has proved out to be nothing short of inspiring, thus far in the 24 year olds Bayern Munich fairy tale.

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Douglas Costa has emerged as a perfect fit at the Allianz Arena ever since arriving. Costa’s highest goal output in a season has never exceeded seven, and he has reached double digit assists in all competitions just two times and he was brought in to replace an ageing, although well-established Ballon D’or finalist. And the big 30 million price tag is always a burden to carry with oneself, especially when you’re playing for a club such as Bayern Munich. Costa has accepted this challenge of letting bygones be bygones emphatically ever since he joined- ranging from friendlies to official Bundesliga games, and has proven to be a shining star. 

At Shakhtar Costa would on occasion look like a world-beater but ultimately his inability to consistently produce at the highest level left many questioning whether he would ever fulfill his true potential. Just a few months on and there are very few left doubting the ability of Douglas Costa and his value to Bayern Munich. In fact it is not uncommon to hear pundits pronounce the Brazilian as one of the best signings of 2015. Only Guardiola knows whether his original plan was to slowly integrate Costa into the Bayern set up or install him immediately into the regular starting eleven. As it turned out, Guardiola had little option given that Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery have both been battling injuries already this season. Robben went down early in September while ironically Ribery last appeared for Bayern in a March 2015 in a 7-0 shellacking of Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League. Costa was substituted with 11 minutes to go and few could have anticipated that six months later the Brazilian would have replaced the Frenchman in heart and minds of so many Bayern fans. Costa’s impact was immediate with a man-of-match performance in Bayern’s 5-0 opening day Bundesliga demolishing of Hamburg; and goals and assists have flowed consistently since.

Being naturally left footed Costa widens the field when Bayern are confronted with a deep lying defense. Costa is only around 5’ 7” but is well built and shows incredible strength and balance when protecting the ball. He is quick over 20 yards but blisteringly quick over the first five yards which often leaves defenders struggling to block a cross or a shot. This trait of his has been a big reason why he’s begun all guns blazing and has been a menace to every team he has faced this season. Leaving a defender one-on-one against Costa isn’t a realistic option. As Costa draws more and more attention from defenders so is created more space for Alaba to bomb forward from deeper positions.  But even double teaming is no guarantee of subduing Costa and Bayern. He has quickly established an extremely effective understanding with left back David Alaba. 

Costa’s vision and tendency to pick out incisive passes have allowed players like Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller to get the goals for the Bavarians. While Robben still goes past defenders as if he’s 25, Ribery’s effect has dissipated quite a bit. With both of them over 30’s a replacement had to be found. He had to be pacy, direct and someone with a passing technique and practical intelligence. Costa has emerged as a successor to the duo. He is the perfect fit for Bayern, and could help make the Bavarians even greater than they already are.