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Midweek Warm-up: It has to be Thomas Müller time for Bayern Munich; Germany’s progress during this break; and MORE!

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Here we go! The final match of this international break...and it can’t end soo enough!

FC Bayern Muenchen v Borussia Dortmund - Bundesliga Photo by Roland Krivec/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

The news of Robert Lewandowski’s injury left many Bayern Munich fans feeling crushed, devastated, frustrated, angry, bitter, or some mixed up concoction of all those feelings.

And you know what? That’s okay.

Lewandowski is the best player in the world (yet somehow still underappreciated globally) and is impossible to replace. There is no disputing that. Not one player on Bayern Munich’s roster — and probably on Earth — can do all of the things that the Polish Hitman brings to the table.

That’s the harsh reality for Bayern Munich and while Hansi Flick tries to sort out a plan to face-off with two excellent squads in RB Leipzig and Paris Saint-Germain, the 56-year-old sextuple-winning manager will at least have another world-class player to lean on: Thomas Müller.

Bayern München v SS Lazio - UEFA Champions League Round Of 16 Leg Two
It is time for a “Tommy Takeover” at Bayern Munich.
Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Yup, it will have to become #ThomasTime and the #MüllerHypeTrain will have to start fueling up for this upcoming journey that could last the next four weeks.

Does this mean, I’m calling for Müller to take the #9 position and do his best Lewandowski imitation? Absolutely not...in fact, I don’t want Müller to change his position at all. The version of Müller that I want to see over the next month is one that is a bit more selfish.

It is a fine quality that Müller is utterly selfless and sacrifices his own personal game to work alongside Lewandowski, but now the time has come for ol’ Tommy to dust off those once golden boots and get back to becoming the goal scoring threat that he was for years before having to play second-fiddle to Lewandowski.

Should Flick surround Müller with a lineup that includes Kingsley Coman and Leroy Sane on the wings and Serge Gnabry acting as the striker, the Raumdeuter should be able to capitalize on the massive openings and spatial gaps that the speed and threat of those three players will create.

Behind Müller will be the best midfield duo in all of football in Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka. This set-up is tailor-made for Müller to take over games once again. The German legend no longer has to look out in front of him and see the world’s best player...he only has to look in the mirror to see the man who can be the difference between another legendary run through the Champions League or an early exit for the UCL season.

Should that happen, the fans’ feelings of frustration will shift into lamentation over what could have been if it had been not for Andorra and those pesky kids on the pitch.


Hype music: “Go Faster” by The Black Crowes

As I was looking for something to get motivated this morning (besides the coffee I’ve been swilling), I hit my iTunes playlist and dug deep into the archive to find this gem from The Black Crowes.

Originally on the album “By Your Side” which was released in 1999 (Gah! 1999!), this is a track I found on the “Black Crowes Greatest Hits 1990-1999: A Tribute to a Work in Progress” CD (YES! A CD).

One of the reasons this struck a chord with me today is probably because one of the theories I have about how Bayern Munich can survive without Robert Lewandowski is by burying the opposition with the pace of Coman, Gnabry, and Sane on the front line and then letting the trio of Müller, Kimmich, and Goretzka be the hammers to strike the final blow.

Anyway, enough about my inane thoughts, enjoy the music:


End of the line

Today’s match against North Macedonia will mark the end of this international break and close down one set of games for FIFA’s World Cup qualifiers. So what did we learn about Germany during this stretch to date? Let’s take a look:

  • Germany has proven that it can still dispatch lesser squads with relative ease. Sadly, there was at least some doubt about that entering this break.
  • Joachim Löw has found a pathway to playing without a traditional target man at striker, but it is still unclear if this can be a long-term solution that yields success in big games.
  • Löw undoubtedly has at least some “old school” traits as it comes to his personnel management, but not all of those hardline tactics work with modern players. It would be nice to have been a fly on the wall for Löw’s conversation with Timo Werner to hear exactly how it went down. If the story is true that Löw told Werner he has lost trust in him, then perhaps the manager needs to think about his approach. If he has addressed with situation with Werner before and the latest conversation was the end result of repeated failings by Werner — then fine. But given that Werner was allegedly shocked by the news, Löw’s willingness to “coach ‘em up” at this stage of his career must be questioned — particularly as it pertains to younger players.
  • Löw still seems content to play with fire defensively. I think we found out that Lukas Klostermann can be that multi-dimensional threat from right-back that Germany has been longing for. The problem? Some stories already indicate that Löw is thinking of dropping Joshua Kimmich to right-back in an effort to not have to drop Toni Kroos from the midfield lineup. Klostermann was the strongest of Germany’s four defenders and while Matthias Ginter, Antonio Rüdiger, and Emre Can have not been bad, I’m not sure any are long-term solutions at those spots.
  • Even with these latest wins, it is extremely clear that Germany could use a new voice with some new ideas and one that has less allegiances to the players within the selection pool.

Quick entertainment hits

Here are some quick hitters on the entertainment scene:

  • I have not been enthused about any series from HBO for a long time. Jason Bateman’s The Outsider was really good, True Detective season three was excellent as well, but the calamitous ending of Game of Thrones left a bitter taste in my mouth and frankly not much from HBO has caught my attention since. I am, however, excited to see Mare of Easttown which is starring Kate Winslet and was filmed close to the area where I live and some other locations in the area where I grew up. Many of the places featured are place I’ve been in my life (the deli I occasionally go to!). Expect massive amounts of grittiness footage in this one. I am very eager to see how it is portrayed as the fictional borough of Easttown.
  • I enjoy this little corner of the internet that we have here and I don’t venture too far off this beaten path, but I’ve been watching HBO’s Q: Into the Storm documentary and man...am I ever GLAD I don’t stray too far from here. The documentary itself is pretty fascinating, but the subject matter is morbid/disturbing/sad in so many ways. I’m only through the first three episodes, but I’ll finish it off and probably never look back.
  • Speaking of documentaries, if you are into the true crime type that have become all the rage, check out The Keepers on Netflix. This is a few years old now, but it follows the unsolved murder of nun Catherine Cesnik in 1969. This, too, is not for the feint of heart.
  • I had a conversation with a buddy a few days ago and we both share a massive admiration for HBO’s Veep (which was nonstop hilarity for the entirety of the series, but sort of fizzled out with a “not great ending” — as so many shows do). Anyway, we tried to theorize which characters were the best from that series and could not come to an agreement. Here is my top 5:

5. Mike McClintock (Matt Walsh): Awful at his job and sloppy in every way, Walsh’s McClintock’s character evolved from stupid to lazy to a massive idiot.

4. Gary Walsh (Tony Hale): Better known as Buster from Arrested Development (another classic), Hale playing the ultimate “simp” to Selena Meyer absolutely never got old. Hale captured the weirdness that was intended for the character perfectly.

3. Richard Splett (Sam Richardson): Incompetent, naive, frankly dumb, and with a great penchant for failing up, Richard Splett provided one hilarious moment after another.

2. Selena Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus): Louis-Dreyfuss was never better than she was as the completely fake, pretentious, high-maintenance, and vulgar politician. JLD is great in many things, but she was born to play this role.

1. Jonah Ryan (Timothy Simons): The butt of every joke, this character was portrayed near perfectly and was a riot every time he was on screen. Simons doled out soooooo many great one-liners, it was almost impossible to stop yourself from laughing any time he merely appeared on screen.

Anyway, for my money, Veep packed so many laughs per minute. I always remember having two or three complete laugh out loud moments in each episode. If you have never checked it out — and you like comedies — go for it.


Prediction Records

Last Bundesliga match day record: 5-4

Overall record: 126-119*

Guest predictors’ record: 23-4

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