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Midweek Warm-up: The curious case of Bayern Munich’s Leroy Sane; Alexander Nübel’s big opportunity; and MORE!

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How big a role will Leroy Sane play in helping an undermanned Bayern Munich squad take on Atletico Madrid today?

RB Salzburg v FC Bayern Muenchen: Group A - UEFA Champions League Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

The long-awaited arrival of Leroy Sane at Bayern Munich took place over the summer — and for a lot less cash than anyone had originally anticipated. Coming off of a major knee injury and moving to Munich in the middle of a pandemic, Sane became one of the great transfer acquisitions for any club worldwide over the summer.

With great speed, creativity, and a dangerous attacking prowess, Sane seemed like a natural fit for the Bavarians, who have pined for the 24-year-old since the days when Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery roamed the flanks in Bavaria.

Bayern Munich had finally gotten its man.

VfB Stuttgart v FC Bayern Muenchen - Bundesliga
Leroy Sane has show some excellent offensive ability, but can he fine tune other parts of his game to gain Hansi Flick’s confidence?
Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

And Sane, for his part, has been a productive offensive force. Sane has five goals and three assists in 10 games across all competitions so far this season. However, he has missed five games due to injury and one where he just wasn’t called upon by Flick. In those appearances Sane has only tallied 421 total minutes as Flick has opted to use him as a game changer off of the bench.

So why is Sane often a substitute? Flick gave us some insight last week that he is not exactly thrilled with Sane’s sometimes careless play on the ball and his lack of commitment to defending.

So...should Bayern Munich fans be a little worried?

Probably not.

Sane is still getting used to a new standard of play for his position. He reportedly frustrated Pep Guardiola at times for the same reasons that have annoyed Flick, but Sane’s new reality is that he going to be with the Bavarians through the 2024/2025 season.

Basically, whether he wants to conform or not, he’s stuck. If he does not adapt to Flick’s expectations, the manager is already proving that he’ll use Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry ahead of the heralded Manchester City transfer. That message, I’m sure, has been received loud and clear.

Even if Sane’s refuses to — or can’t — adhere to Flick’s requirements, Bayern Munich still has the aforementioned duo of Coman and Gnabry able to create mass amounts of chaos down the flanks. Coman, in particular, has raised his level of play to a point where he is not only the squad’s best winger...but it’s getting harder to take him off the field.

Bayern Munich’s built-in contingency plan affords Flick the necessary time to ensure that Sane eventually embraces the manager’s messaging — or faces even more time on the pine.

This is quite the first-world problem to have and Bayern Munich fans should not lose any sleep over it. Sane will get his chance to show he can be what Flick expects him to be.

And if he can’t? Sane can watch while others show him how it’s done.


Nübel Prize winner?

Alexander Nübel will get his chance on the big stage today and we’ll get an opportunity to see if the Padawan has learned anything from the Master. How many goals do you think he’ll let in today?

Poll

How many goals will Alexander Nübel let in today?

This poll is closed

  • 27%
    0 - Shutout, his midichlorian count is off the charts.
    (120 votes)
  • 48%
    1 - Solid performance on a big stage.
    (207 votes)
  • 17%
    2 - Not his best effort.
    (74 votes)
  • 3%
    3 - Oh no...what has Brazzo done?
    (13 votes)
  • 3%
    4 - Do you have Sven Ulreich’s cell number?
    (17 votes)
431 votes total Vote Now

Watch Flick pull a total swerve and start Ron-Thorben Hoffman.


Ranking the “new” Star Wars flicks

We had a discussion in the BFW Slack channel this week regarding the merits of the “new” Star Wars flicks. I, for one, was not a big fan of the latest trilogy, but did like the other Star Wars films that were released. So, without further adieu, here are the only rankings that matter:

  1. Rogue One: I am not even sure how this is debatable. A fantastic story that effectively linked the “Prequels” with the “Original Trilogy.” This really should have been the model for how to make new Star Wars movie. There was action, humor, strategy, Easter eggs, and a tremendous nod to the power of Darth Vader. It is hard to provide a seamless link between stories that were produced 25 years apart, but Rogue One did it. It was simply a tremendous story in every aspect.
  2. Solo: Now hear me out...when I saw this in the theatre (a late night showing on opening night), I came away thoroughly unimpressed and a little disappointed. But you know what, I think it was the product of a long work day and being tired as hell. When I re-watched Solo, I really enjoyed it and thought it was a lot of fun. Sure, Alden Ehrenreich didn’t exactly hit a homer when trying to capture everything about Han Solo, but he was...good enough. The story was decent. Woody Harrelson and Emilia Clarke were terrific and it was interesting to see the back story on one of the great characters in science fiction.
  3. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (VII): Okay, the drop-off begins. The story had holes (a lot of them, but somehow less than the following two flicks), but it did capture some of the magic contained in the “Original Trilogy.” Daisy Ridley was great and to be honest, most of the acting and performers are good...the story just was not great. In a rare case for a Star Wars, the acting was far better than the writing. I think Adam Driver is a good actor overall, but I also think his character was horribly written and to be honest...Kylo Ren was more of an emo wannabe hard ass than actual hard ass. He came across way too petulant unfortunately and the eventual character growth was more confusing than convincing...and it wasn’t the actor’s fault; it was all the poor writing.
  4. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (IX): So...maybe this was a better flick than “The Last Jedi” (which was a mess), but not by much. The first 30 minutes are maddening, ridiculous, and stupid even by Star Wars standards. I was fighting hard to stay engaged, but it was clear that this final movie was openly trying to tie up loose ends, close holes, or discount some of the ridiculousness of The Last Jedi altogether rather than just be a good story.
  5. Star Wars: The Last Jedi (VII): Mark Hamill gave the old guard of fans some hope, but aside of Hamill, the story was brutal. I was actually frustrated watching it and the ending was absolutely ridiculously bad. I feel like the story should have went into a completely different direction. Simply put, this movie completely missed the mark. Granted, the death of Carrie Fisher was a terrible loss and likely created some issues in writing the script, but there had to be a better way to move forward.

I would honestly be okay if they just did a complete reboot on the final trilogy. Anyway, I don’t want to sound like “back in my day guy” or any of the fans that had other stupid reasons for not liking the films, I was just disappointed that the stories were lackluster. Plain and simple, they largely didn’t tie together in a sensible way (even for someone who knowingly checks logic at the door when watching Stars Wars movies).

With modern technology and years to perfect the stories and scripts, Disney bricked in a bad way, which is unfortunate because being able to score actors like Ridley, Driver, John Boyega, and Oscar Isaac was terrific.

I have not bucked up for Disney+ to watch The Mandalorian, but I understand that it has been well-received critically and by fans (a hard exacta to hit!). I look forward to eventually giving that a look in the future.


Predictions

So, yeah, this game is nearly impossible to call if you are conflicted soul like myself. We know that Hansi Flick has left Robert Lewandowski, Manuel Neuer, and Leon Goretzka back in Munich, while Corentin Tolisso will join Joshua Kimmich and Alphonso Davies on the injured list. In fact, the list of players Bayern Munich travelling with for this match seems more worthy of the International Champions Cup than the Champions League:

Logic (I have none by the way) tells you that a team missing the top three central midfielders on its depth chart would be at a severe disadvantage — and that thinking is probably correct. For some reason, however, I feel like Bayern Munich is going to pull this one out. I cannot explain it...maybe I am drinking the Flicki Flaka-flavored Kool-Aid, but I am picturing Alexander Nübel triumphantly leaving Spain like some conquering hero.

Anyway, let’s say whatever wings that Flick employs will carry the offense and that the defense will be just solid enough to limit Nübel getting bombarded.

Prediction: Atletico Madrid 1-2 Bayern Munich

Now on to our guest prognosticator, who has a lot of pressure on her to maintain the perfect record:

Samrin_TwinkleFCB: Bayern’s defense should do a good job of keeping things tight at the back despite not having exactly been stellar recently. The absence of Manuel Neuer, however, is a big one and I see Atletico sneaking in two goals. Despite that, the youngsters such as Jamal Musiala, Chris Richards and Alexander Nübel, will want to make an impression and Bayern will score at least once. Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting’s conversion rate hasn’t been the best, however, and that could be our downfall.

Prediction: Atletico Madrid 2-2 Bayern Munich


Predictions record

Pretty good week overall in picking games. Gambling on ties is hit-or-miss, but has worked out lately for me. Let’s see how the next couple of weeks play out, though, before I actually start feeling confident in the selections.

The guest prognosticators are still straight fire.

Last Bundesliga match day record: 6-3

Overall record: 47-38*

Guest predictors of Bayern Munich games: 15-0 (?!)*

(*includes DFL-Supercup, DFB-Pokal, and Champions League)