When Hansi Flick announced his intention to leave Bayern Munich a couple of weeks back, the footballing world surrounding the Bavarian club turned a bit chaotic.
First, there was the announcement — and subsequent cancellation — of the European Super League, which shook fans into a rage. The clapback on the idea was so loud that the “Power 12” clubs who decided to try and ruin modern football had to can the idea before it really ever got off of the ground.
As for Flick, there was some hemming-and-hawing about whether or not Bayern Munich would let him go — and just how easy the club would make it for him to leave. In the end, however, the best realistic outcome occurred: Bayern Munich was able to sign Julian Nagelsmann to take over and Flick is now free to pursue his dream of coaching the German national team.
Simply put, it was a wild couple of weeks.
The situation with Flick is somehow both sad and promising at the same time. Bayern Munich lost a special coach, who earned respect from players through relationship building, communication, innovative tactics, and his ability to instill a feeling of self-belief into a team that did not appear to know that it was capable of marvelous things from time-to-time. Bayern Munich is not better for letting him go, but it escaped embarrassment by getting the next best option out there: Nagelsmann.
The move also represented a major milestone within the club as it was was first solo effort from Oliver Kahn is securing his new manager. While Uli Hoeneß has long been a fan of Nagelsmann and the giant presence of Karl-Heinz Rummenigge can still be found on Säbener Straße, this was Kahn’s first big deal as he transitions to the formal role of CEO in 2022.
While Nagelsmann will bring his own brand of football and certainly offer a different style, his success is by no means a sure thing. Bayern Munichis not an easy environment to work in — just ask any of the club’s recent managers. From a very hands-on front office to a roster laden with powerful veterans, managers are often operating on the defensive rather than the offensive.
Nagelsmann has enough clout to win over the Bayern Munich roster (provided he doesn’t repeat the mistakes of a few of his predecessors), but it remains to be seen how strong he will be in dealing with the front office. Will his input on roster planning carry any weight or is he just happy to finally get his “dream job”?
While many people have taken shots at sporting director Hasan “Brazzo” Salihamidzic for his role in Flick’s departure, the clever front office man would be wise to not take as many hardline stances in his relationship with Nagelsmann as he did with Flick. By no means is this call to give the coach free rein, but it is a warning for Salihamidzic to take a different tack.
In the end, the professional relationship between Salihamidzic and Flick deteriorated because the two men could not find a way to coexist — but it was not just Flick who felt annoyed with Salihamidzic’s mode of operation. If reports are to be believed, the entire coaching staff — along with team manager Kathleen Krüger — also had run-ins with Salihamidzic.
A cynic would at least wonder if the push to hire Nagelsmann did not come with a sense of assurance that Salihamidzic could go back to pulling the strings at Bayern Munich with less resistance. Time will tell if the folks who see Salihamidzic as a puppet master will be proven correct, but now should be a time for everyone in Bayern Munich’s new regime to look toward a fresh start and learn from their mistakes.
It is not easy to find a real world class manager and Bayern Munich put the club at risk with letting one walk away. Nagelsmann has the ideas, energy, and background to make this a smooth hand-off, but unless the entire front office is willing to evolve and learn from the difficulties of the recent past, it will be prone to repeating those same mistakes.
Song of the week: “She Sells Sanctuary” by The Cult
For this week’s song, we jumped in the “wayback machine” to 1985 when this gem was released. The beauty of this song is that is what I call “era-less.” By that I mean, its sound and lyrics are timeless and it could be hard to discern whether it was released in 1985 or 2005.
I’m a huge fan of this particular tune and fondly remember this coming on to the radio during one of my old 60-mile, one-way morning commutes and being instantly energized. Sure, I had heard the song many times before, but it hit differently at that moment — which was roughly 4:30AM. Unless you have lived that life, you have no idea what the wear-and-tear of that lifestyle entails and how important it can be for the endorphins to start popping at that time of day. Sometimes you just need that extra little jolt and “She Sells Sanctuary” surely provides that.
Anyway, enjoy it!
Without a Bayern Munich match this weekend, we are left to predict Hertha Berlin’s next two “make-up” Bundesliga matches and the DFB-Pokal fixtures:
- Mainz 05 2-1 Hertha Berlin 1
- Hertha Berlin 1-3 SC Freiburg
- Werder Bremen 0-2 RB Leipzig
- Borussia Dortmund 3-0 Holstein Kiel
Last Bundesliga match day record: 5-3
Overall record: 150-139*
Guest predictors’ record: 23-4*
(*includes DFL-Supercup, DFB-Pokal, Club World Cup, and Champions League)