David Alaba vs. Bayern Munich...where do we begin?
For Alaba, this is an important contract. As he saunters closer to 30, this is likely Alaba’s last opportunity to get a big money contract. That is extremely important to any player as once they retire, as there is not always a vast new world of opportunity for every athlete to become a talking head, manager, front office leader, or business person. Surely, it’s a scary prospect to think about the future when all you’ve ever known is the game.
For that alone, Alaba shouldn’t be faulted for trying to get as much as he possibly can.
For Bayern Munich, the club obviously wants to retain a heralded product of its youth system, but during a pandemic, financial purse strings are surely tighter than usual. With a crazy amount of young and mid-career talent at center-back, left-back, and in the central midfield, Bayern Munich technically doesn’t need Alaba as much as it may want Alaba.
A respected and versatile veteran, fans should probably think twice before condemning him for simply trying to do what is best for himself and his family. Granted, if this was any other agent aside of Pini Zahavi, the public outrage on this wouldn’t be as severe, but Zahavi’s reputation — especially with Robert Lewandowski’s failed transfer saga — has already earned him the ire of Bayern Munich fans.
Regardless, the outlook for an Alaba renewal looks dim and in reading his comments, he seems — hurt at best — and — out of alignment with his agent at worst — on what his ultimate goal for these negotiations may be. Would Alaba take a lesser salary to remain in Bavaria? Maybe, but Zahavi’s job is to prevent that from happening. It’s a soulless task, but a job where the only thing that matter is his client’s bottom-line.
Whatever happens, there will either be time to reflect on Alaba’s greatness in Munich, his contentious exit, or both, but for now, all fans can do is sit back and wait. A withdrawn offer is not the end of this process, but we are surely closer to finality in this matter than the beginning.
Review: Hubie Halloween
There is a certain mindset you need to have when plopping down to watch an Adam Sandler-fueled comedy, especially one that is directed at a younger crowd. For me, I was in college when his classics like “Billy Madison” and “Happy Gilmore” dropped...and I was ahuge fan of those. I probably would still laugh hard at “Happy Gilmore.”
Anyway, this flick was fun, especially for kids. Some will immediately not be able to handle the way Sandler’s “Hubie” speaks, but if you stick it out, it’s worth the entertainment value — for a holiday-themed movie anyway. It’s dumb and stupid humor for sure, but it worked for me — probably because we’re at a point in the world where mindless comedy is a welcomed escape from well, just about everything else.
For those fans of Sandler’s old work (I admittedly checked out when he released “Little Nicky” because I wanted to remember the relative greatness of Madison and Gilmore before his movies went far downhill), there were some very good cameos and throwbacks to older Sandler flicks that made it kind of fun.
While the overall entertainment is aimed at tweens, teens, and young adults, the language does get a little NSFW. For instance, when I had to answer this question from my 10-year-old: “What’s a boner?” it was a moment where I had to rely on some “quick goat thinking” (a Sandler throwback to his old comedy CD days which featured a very-NSFW “The Goat”) to avoid a potentially unwanted conversation.
Otherwise, though, there was some suggestive language and general awkward moments if you are watching with kids, but nothing absolutely egregious. To my standards it is relatively kid safe, but for a dad of two young girls like me, I was a little uncomfortable at times...but I survived!
It was fun and I enjoyed Sandler’s overall goofiness, but it won’t be raking in Oscar nominations. If you did not like Sandler’s previous comedy work (“Uncut Gems” deserves its own Sandler-genre for uncomfortable, yet entertaining dramas), you assuredly won’t like this and if you don’t enjoy a little dumb humor, you certainly won’t enjoy it either.
I realize that 99% of the population will find this movie annoying, but I struggle — and I mean struggle — to find any holiday-related flick I can watch with my kids that is entertaining to both the old (me!) and young (them!). This — at a minimum — checked that box.
It’s not a masterpiece, but it was fun. If you decide to watch, keep an eye on the shirts that Hubie’s mom wears...
No Nübel news
One of the more curious — and somehow fascinating — players on the Bayern Munich roster is Alexander Nübel. The 24-year-old goalkeeper is mired behind Manuel Neuer on the Bayern Munich roster, but is still heralded as a good signing for the future and great business for the club; mostly because he was a free transfer from Schalke 04.
With just one appearance under his belt so far, I wonder what Nübel thinks of his new situation and surroundings. Even more spellbinding is why we have not seen more stories emerge from Germany on how Nübel is adapting to his new role as an understudy to Neuer — who might just be the best goalkeeper on the planet once again. We know things were not exactly rosy back in September, but it has been radio silence ever since.
Is Nübel happy? Does he regret making the move at this stage of his career? I find his whole situation incredibly captivating for some reason. Hopefully, Nübel is using this time at Säbener Straße to hone those finer points of his game. At this stage, it is beyond clear that he won’t be playing much, but he can make himself a valuable commodity for Bayern Munich or a future club by taking this time with top-notch coaching, facilities, and training ground competition to help his game evolve.
In what seems to be a theme for this season, Bayern Munich is shorthanded and on short rest. Niklas Süle (COVID-19) and Leon Goretzka (calf) are the latest roster casualties, but even without that talented duo, Bayern Munich is still the hands-down favorite in this game. We are expecting to see Kingsley Coman, Robert Lewandowski, and Thomas Müller leading the offense for Hansi Flick, while we can assume that Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernandez will be two of the four defenders. In the midfield, it will likely be Joshua Kimmich and a partner to be named later. Whoever fills those voids, however, will be quality, so this is yet another game where Bayern Munich should be heavily favored.
While RB Salzburg has a promising young manager in Jesse Marsch and a talented young roster, the Bavarians are likely to overwhelm the opposition.
Prediction: RB Salzburg 0-4 Bayern Munich
Now on to our guest prognosticator:
RLD: The game against Salzburg should be an enjoyable one for Bayern fans for two reasons. The first is that Salzburg has a very poor defense. Nobody along their backline with the exception for Maximillian Wober plays even mid-table Bundesliga level of defense and their key midfielder, Dominik Szoboszlai, acts like tracking back is about as much fun as shoveling manure. The second reason it should be fun is that the Bullen are loaded with young talented players who are coached to get up the field and attack.
Patson Daka is an exceptional forward (although his availability is in doubt), but Koita and Adeyemi are no slouches if they are starting up front. Young midfielder Mohamed Camara is a bundle of energy and is a treat to watch. But the bottom line is that Salzburg should not be able to resist Bayern’s massive offensive firepower. Whether it is 4-3 or 4-0 depends on which version of our defense shows up, but I expect a four-goal day for Bayern to cement their spot on top of the group.
Prediction: RB Salzburg 1-4 Bayern Munich
I’ll take the record below after having zero feel last week in the Bundesliga last weekend. I tried to get creative and talk Schalke 04 and Mainz 05, but all that got me was a couple of “L’s.” At some point, those two teams have to win something, but apparently not on the weeks I attempt to send a little mojo their way. Anyway, here is how things stand:
Last Bundesliga match day record: 5-4
Overall record: 30-26*
Guest predictors of Bayern Munich games: 11-0 (?!)*
(*includes DFL-Supercup, DFB-Pokal, and Champions League)