The thought that Bayern Munich might take a step back after losing David Alaba, Jerome Boateng, and Hansi Flick has proven to be wrong.
Sure, Bayern Munich is not perfect (not by a long shot), but the Bavarians are still among the handful of clubs capable of actually winning a Champions League title.
Julian Nagelsmann has handled himself well in taking over for Flick. Indeed, there are some issues with his system. His attacking strategy sometimes chokes the life out of his best two players (Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller) by overcrowding the box. His hybrid formation can also leave his squad off-balance, vulnerable defensively, and undermanned when dealing with counterattacks, but the former RB Leipzig coach has found a way to make it all work for the most part.
Nagelsmann’s perceived tactical flaws, though, are out-weighed by the work he has done with his personnel:
- In his second year after ACL surgery, Niklas Süle looks like one of the most complete center-backs on Earth.
- Jamal Musiala is developing into a Swiss Army knife of a player, who can be deployed a numerous positions.
- Kingsley Coman looks like he is maturing into the complete player that fans have been waiting to see for years.
- Leroy Sane — another player in his second season after ACL surgery — has exploded into realizing the potential that has always been there within his game.
Those are just a few examples of how Nagelsmann has picked up where Flick left off in drawing the best from his players by establishing open communication and building relationships. Nagelsmann also swept through the Champions League and really only had one major disappointment: the DFB-Pokal debacle against Borussia Mönchengladbach. It should be noted, though, that Nagelsmann was out with COVID-19 during that mess (not that he could have helped much).
If you want to throw a non-tactical criticism at Nagelsmann, it is that he appears to be reluctant to rotate — something that will be essential if he wants to keep this squad healthy and fresh for the stretch run. Nagelsmann cannot be afraid to hold players like Joshua Kimmich out occasionally.
All-in-all, Nagelsmann has been a success (so far). We all know, however, that the boss man won’t ultimately be judged by his Hinrunde showing. Instead, the full season will determine how many fans view Nagelsmann and how all of his tactical innovations have worked.
One thing is for sure, though, the 34-year-old is off to a pretty good start and has at least given fans hope that this squad has a chance to achieve two of its three remaining goals for this season.
Song of the week: “Cannonball” by The Breeders
I’ve been on a 90s kick of late (can you tell?) and since we’ve had a recent theme of female-fronted bands, I thought ripping out this classic form The Breeders was appropriate.
Released in August of 1993 (when I turned 17...AAAAAAAAAAAAAH!) on the band’s “Splash” album “Cannonball” has a unique and catchy opening before hitting hard with the rock sound. “Cannonball” was yet another tune that captured the 90s alt-rock vibe.
ICYMI: The Weekend Warm-up Podcast
Hey everybody! We are back for another Weekend Warm-up Podcast! This is the last edition before the team breaks, but rest assured, we’ll keep trudging forward to bring you our BFW brand of craziness even while Bayern Munich is maxing and relaxing.
Because of the Uber-condensed week, I’ve combined the Wolfsburg preview show into the Weekend Warm-up Podcast. I believe this is what you might call, “More Chuck for your buck!”
Anyway, here is what we have on tap:
- A quick look at Bayern Munich vs. Wolfsburg.
- A review of the Champions League draw fiasco.
- An examination into Bayern Munich’s Plans A, B, and C for the summer.
- Some thoughts about why Bayern Munich really needs to throwing timing to the wayside and go after Erling Haaland.
Bayern Munich should be looking to hop all over a scuffling, struggling Wolfsburg side, which has talent, but is just collapsing from within. Even with a depleted side, Julian Nagelsmann should be able to coax enough out of his boys to handle the Wolves.
Wolfsburg, though, is not without capable weapons. Wout Weghorst is among the better strikers in the Bundesliga and with Ridle Baku, Maximilian Arnold, Maxence Lacroix, and a host of other capable players, Florian Kohfeldt’s side is absolutely not deprived of talent, but there might not be another team in the league more in need of a reboot over the winter break. With four losses and draw over their last five games, the Wolves’ luck will not likely be getting better today.
Prediction: Bayern Munich 3-0 Wolfsburg
Other Bundesliga predictions include:
- VfL Bochum 1-2 Union Berlin
- Eintracht Frankfurt 2-2 Mainz 05
- SpVgg Greuther Fürth 1-2 FC Augsburg
- Hoffenheim 2-2 Borussia Mönchengladbach
- RB Leipzig 3-1 Arminia Bielefeld
- Hertha Berlin 1-4 Borussia Dortmund
- SC Freiburg 2-2 Bayer Leverkusen
- FC Köln 1-1 VfB Stuttgart
Still no good.
Here is where we are at:
Last Bundesliga Match Day record: 4-5
Overall Bundesliga record: 77-67
DFB-Pokal record: 1-1
DFL-Supercup record: 1-0
Champions League record: 6-0
Overall record: 85-68
Guest prognosticator record: 0-1 (Cowards)