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Midweek warm-up: Niklas Süle’s impressive return and future prospects; Bayern Munich vs. Atletico Madrid predictions; An #ArpTrain anthem (?!); and MORE!

Bayern Munich vs. Atletico Madrid in Champions League action? WE’RE BACK...YOU KNOW IT!

Germany Training Session Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

In the midst of all of Hansi Flick’s hustle-and-bustle in trying to keep his squad fresh for Bayern Munich’s brutal early season schedule, it has been easy to overlook what should have been one of the key questions coming into the season: How would Niklas Süle look upon his return from a devastating ACL injury that cost him the majority of the 2019/2020 season?

The answer: Pretty darned good.

Süle got a head start in his return by coming back at the very end of last season to help get his body back into playing condition, but mentally is where Süle has made the biggest strides. The emotional grind in recovering and rehabbing from an ACL injury is one of the most difficult tasks a player can face. For many players, regaining full physical and mental fitness is an extremely difficult proposition.

At Bayern Munich, we only need to look at Corentin Tolisso to see how long it can take for a player to truly get back to 100%. Tolisso suffered a serious ACL injury back in September 2018. You could make a strong argument that the 24-year-old Frenchman only really started to look like himself at the tail end of last season — which included a long layoff due to COVID-19.

Regaining the confidence to not just perform at the same speed, make the same cuts, slide for a hard challenge, or load-up to leap the same way after a knee injury is not something that just happens. Credit to Tolisso as he worked extremely hard to make progress, but Süle has seemingly been able to already fight through any apprehension.

Frankly, Süle not only came back mentally strong, but physically kept himself in shape despite the injury. While that might not seem like a big deal, we do know that Thomas Muller’s golf buddy likes to throw down at the dinner table a bit.

Anyway, one of the interesting parts of Süle’s return has been how he seems to fit into Flick’s rotation. As of now, it is hard to discern who exactly Flick’s top center-back pairing would be. With Jerome Boateng, David Alaba, and Lucas Hernandez all part of the mix and Benjamin Pavard, Javi Martinez, Chris Richards, and Tanguy Nianzou all able to play there as well, there could be an insane amount of mixing-and-matching going on for Flick in the coming months.

With all of that depth, should Süle be worried about his position on the squad? The answer: Probably. Personally, I’d love to see Süle remain the cornerstone of the defense. With his size, speed, strength, and passing ability, Süle checks all the boxes you want in a next generation defender...but that back-line is crowded and talented.

Some players will likely have to eventually go...hopefully the 25-year-old Germany international is not one of them.

#ArpTrain anthem?

As some of you may know, our own Tom Adams is a bit of musician and is the drummer in a band. Some would say that Tom is even the Tommy Lee of BFW (minus the Pamela Anderson video...that we know of anyway).

Inspired by Fiete Arp’s debut last week, I theorized that I should pen an anthem for the #ArpTrain movement. Even better, I should implore Tom to make his band sing it or threaten to go buy The Short Fuse’s Tweet Master for pennies-on-the-dollar to replace him!

Of course I was joking (sort of), but then the wheels started to turn in my mind about which of these train-related tunes I could re-work the lyrics on to work best for an #ArpTrain theme song:

Even better, I started to picture what a BFW band might look like (aside of utterly ridiculous).

Just imagine, Ineednoname throwing on the long, curly wig and top hat to be Slash? Maybe John Dillon doing his best Randy Rhoads? Jake Fenner, growing out his hair and lowering his voice a few octaves to mumble his best 90s-era Eddie Vedder impersonation? Marcus Iredahl playing some odd instrument like the keytar...and still drawing in all the groupies? Phillip Quinn as the sleazy behind-the-scenes manager stealing all of our money? All of these...pure gold.

Anyway, who would I be? Axl Rose of course. I would quickly alienate the entire BFW crew, start my own offshoot (insert jokes about The Barrel here), and then try to reunite with the group years (months?) later.

Have a beautiful day, precious!

This is scary.

The “new” Ole Gunner Solskjaer sort of looks like Leon Goretzka when he hits 55-years-old, while the “new” Edinson Cavani looks like she drinks way too many Mike’s Hard Lemonades and smokes way too many Virginia Slims.

Rome: An Appreciation

We were rehashing television shows from the past in our staff Slack channel and in discussing a few of HBO’s gems, I thought back to the BBC-HBO joint venture, “Rome.” Incredibly expensive to produce due to the large ensemble cast, special effects, and various shooting locations, the networks fast tracked the show into just 22 episodes over two seasons, but man, it was tremendous.

‘Rome’ Part II: On-Set Stills
Ray Stevenson and Kevin McKidd were as good as any on-screen duo that I can think of.

The plot of the show revolves mostly about the political turmoil and in-fighting that comes along with running an empire, but it also has a dual-focus on following the journey of two Roman soldiers who essentially go from grunts to having roles within political structure (in on way or another). The series captures everything from jealousy over power to the struggle to stay popular among the citizens when ruling and even how soldiers struggle to adjust to normal, everyday life after spending so much time in battle.

While there are some seriously great acting jobs (Polly Walker as Atia of the Julii, Ciarán Hinds as Julius Caesar, James Purefoy as Mark Antony, Tobias Menzies as Marcus Junius Brutus), the duo that stole the show was Kevin McKidd as Lucius Vorenus and Ray Stevenson as Titus Pullo.

McKidd and Stevenson jump off the screen in almost every scene and their unlikely — and always tumultuous friendship — was truly the heart behind the show. While there are many, many fantastic interactions between the duo throughout the series, there may be no better representation of each character than the situation they find themselves in season one, episode 11, which is titled “The Spoils.” While I won’t ruin it (for those of you who somehow haven’t seen a series that is now 15 years old!? Where did the time go?), it has some fantastic representation of the brotherhood that exists between soldiers and how far they’ll go to protect each other.

Looking back and realizing the quality of the show from the writing to the acting to the overall production value, it is a damn shame that the networks could not figure out a way to give the show a true run. Still, the two seasons of the show only feel rushed toward the very end, but the quality does not drop even as you know things are coming to a close.

If you have not already seen this, put it on your list. At just 22 episodes, it is worth your investment of time. If you have already seen it, then you know how terrific it was.


There is always a bit of drama surrounding Bayern Munich, but nothing quite captures it like this image that was in the comment section of yesterday’s Daily Schmankerl. Credit to Alh_maryam for the absolutely fantastic work:

I had to share just to make sure that it got the credit that it’s due.


Atletico Madrid is not exactly the ideal club to face in the midst of a jam-packed schedule and in your first Champions League game, but this is what Bayern Munich is up against.

Did we mention Serge Gnabry is out did to COVID-19?

Awesome...let’s move on.

On paper, it looks like there is a big gap in overall talent and depth between the two squads, but this is still a dangerous game for the Bavarians.

I have to think that Bayern Munich’s fantastic offense will be able to break through the Atleti defense no matter how much the Spanish club tries to muck the game up. I also have confidence that Bayern Munich’s back-line will be able to keep Luis Suarez and Joao Felix under wraps enough for Die Roten to walk away with a victory.

My gut is telling me Bayern Munich will score three goals, but my brain is interfering with that optimism:

Prediction: Bayern Munich 2-1 Atletico Madrid

Now on to our guest prognosticators:

John Dillon: Atletico will undoubtedly be a grind, but I am confident that Bayern can put two past Jan Oblak — unless he goes into full octopod-mode (never to be ruled out). Atleti has two wins and two draws in La Liga as of this writing with a goal difference of +7: they crushed Granada 6:1 and beat Celta Vigo 2:0, but failed to score against SD Huesca and FC Villareal. I don’t think they’ll put one past Bayern’s defense.

Prediction: Bayern Munich 2-0 Atletico Madrid

Evan Vanderpool: It’s amazing that we are already back to playing Champions League football. Will Bayern have a hangover from the Quintuple of last season? That’s the million dollar question. They have had strong showings in the Bundesliga so far but have shown signs of fatigue. We all know the defensive prowess of Atletico and their ability to frustrate the high press of Liverpool last season. What happens when the unstoppable force meets the immovable object? I wish we had Leroy Sané healthy, but still see Bayern’s attack being too much at home.

Prediction: Bayern Munich 2-0 Atletico Madrid

Schnitzel01: Atleti are a very gritty, strong team on the counter, and I think a momentary defensive lapse might lead us to concede one, but I feel that our offensive firepower should be more than enough to dispatch even one of the strongest defenses of Europe.

Prediction: Bayern Munich 3-1 Atletico Madrid

Prediction Records

Last Bundesliga match day record: 5-4

Overall record: 16-20*

Guest predictors of Bayern Munich games: 6-0 (?!)*

(*includes DFL-Supercup and DFB-Pokal)

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