Bayern Munich has already splurged most — if not all — of it transfer budget on the RB Leipzig duo of Dayot Upamecano and Julian Nagelsmann.
If Thursday’s DFB-Pokal finale was your baseline for assessing how things might go, you probably came away feeling pretty bleak about how the duo will perform on the big stage.
Now...using one game to make that assessment would be troubling — and flatly wrong — no matter how you slice it. Upamecano has generally put together a very solid resume and has been hailed as a next generation-level replacement for players like David Alaba and Jerome Boateng in Bavaria. As for Nagelsmann, the 34-year-old is widely-hailed as one of the brightest young coaches in the game.
The bright lights of Bavaria shine more like heat lamps, though, and both Upamecano and Nagelsmann will both have to prove they can manage that pressure on a week-in, week-out basis.
The interesting part of Upamecano’s situation is that his signing probably should mean Niklas Süle’s tenure with Bayern Munich is close to being over. That, however, would seem to be a big risk. While healthy this season, Lucas Hernandez has a history of battling injuries, which could present a major issue with depth should Bayern Munich opt to let Süle leave.
While up-and-down at times this season, Süle is the most seasoned and accomplished center-back that will (potentially) be returning to the squad next season. Just as bashing Upamecano would be ill-advised, letting Süle go could be equally as unwise.
Similarly, Nagelsmann will be working with the most talented and deep roster he has ever had to manage. To think he will suddenly lose his innovative methods and not be able to find the best ways to utilize the players on Bayern Munich roster might be a mistake.
Regardless, it would not be prudent to think either Upamecano or Nagelsmann has “bust” potential, but there is a reason to think there could be a significant acclimation period for both. While Upamecano has potential to be great, he is not quite there yet and still might only be third on the Bavarians’ depth chart behind Hernandez and Süle — if the non-Alaba/Boateng portion of the backline remains in tact for next season.
As Bayern Munich fans found out with Leroy Sane, sometimes transitions take time and it might be better to be safe with Süle than sorry without him.
Mare of Easttown
I dove into Mare of Easttown and I will say that I am really enjoying it...and yes, I’ve got a bit of a bias. The story itself is pretty fascinating so far as it follows a hard-luck, hard-life detective prone to making bad decisions through her efforts to solve a couple of open cases that involve the disappearance and/or murder of two girls.
The show was shot in the two counties where I spend the most time and features quite a few “landmarks” from my youth. For instance, the exterior shots of the church are of the (now closed) elementary school I attended. The exterior shots of the bar, are from the VFW Hall that is seriously five minutes from where I type this.
So, for me, every episode is a not just about a very interesting plot, but also a bit of a “Where’s Waldo?” to see where they shot.
An acquaintance of mine lives in the neighborhood where Mare’s house was located and he says he knows how this all ends. He wont spill the beans, but that’s okay by me. The series has proven to be entertaining and suspenseful so far and I am very interested to see how it all ends.
If you haven’t started watching, I’d recommend jumping in. Like any good HBO series, the first couple of episodes set things up and give a lot information on the background of the characters and story. Bear with that and enjoy the rest.
Here are a couple of quick hits/fun facts:
- A bit of trivia, the show’s creator (Brad Ingelsby) is the brother of former Notre Dame point guard Martin Ingelsby, who is now the head coach for men’s basketball at the University of Delaware. Fun fact...I started my writing career so young (and so long ago), I covered them both when they were in high school.
- For those of you who listen to our podcast, you were already slammed with the now-infamous “Delco” accent. The lengths to which Kate Winslet and the cast went to replicate this unique dialect are pretty extraordinary — and have become the subject of a Saturday Night Live bit (below).
This crime show is EXTREMELY Pennsylvania pic.twitter.com/XmMQnJTzS7— Saturday Night Live - SNL (@nbcsnl) May 9, 2021
- For you podcast listeners, you may occasionally hear my Delco slide out with saying “fur” instead of “for” and “wooder” instead of “water”. I fight this every episode.
- Somehow they did not cast me as one of the bar patrons...I mean, natural fit right? I am a dive bar aficionado and have even drank in some of the bars where they filmed scenes!
Song of the week: “I Don’t Know Anything” by Mad Season
If you want to talk about underplayed 90s, Grunge Era bands, check out Mad Season. Mad Season was a Grunge all-star collaborative effort. Band members included guitarist Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, lead singer Layne Staley of Alice in Chains, drummer Barrett Martin of Screaming Trees, and bassist John Baker Saunders.
One of the best Mad Season songs is “I Don’t Know Anything” — which many of you probably think is the theme song for my life. Anyway, float back to the 90s and enjoy this hard-edged lost classic:
The Mad Season song, “River of Deceit” is also pretty damn good.
Logic — if I had any whatsoever — would typically tell me that Bayern Munich is poised to slow down after racking up six goals against Borussia Mönchengladbach last weekend. Because I am dumb and I am going to let the dominant showing I witnessed last weekend cloud my vision, I’m going to say Bayern Munich is going to stay scorching hot.
I respect SC Freiburg and think Christian Streich is one of the most underrated coaches in all of football, but the Bavarians seem to be on a mission to finish this season in a very strong way. I am sure that there is a lot of motivation to help Robert Lewandowski break Gerd Müller’s Bundesliga goal scoring record and Bayern Munich will certainly be looking to feed the Polish Hitman early and often.
Knowing Streich, there will not be a bus parked and he will have his boys actually play the game — unless he gets a lead...then all bets are off because he will do everything to win the game. Regardless, Streich is typically not one to play conservatively when there is a good match to be had.
Prediction: SC Freiburg 0-4 Bayern Munich
Other Bundesliga predictions include:
- Arminia Bielefield 1-2 Hoffenheim
- FC Augsburg 2-2 Werder Bremen
- Borussia Mönchengladbach 2-1 VfB Stuttgart
- Bayer Leverkusen 2-2 Union Berlin
- Hertha Berlin 2-2 FC Köln
- Schalke 04 0-3 Eintracht Frankfurt
- Mainz 05 1-3 Borussia Dortmund
- RB Leipzig 1-2 Wolfsburg
Last Bundesliga match day record: 8-2*
Overall record: 160-143*
Guest predictors’ record: 23-4*
(*includes rescheduled Schalke-Hertha Berlin match)
(*includes DFL-Supercup, DFB-Pokal, Club World Cup, and Champions League)