Bayern Munich announced Julian Nagelsmann’s appointment as new head coach effective from the 2021/2022 season on the 27th of April. Treble-winning coach Hansi Flick’s departure to become head coach of the German national team was not met well by fans, and there was and still is a feeling of regret and disappointment among a large portion of the fanbase - it really feels like a fairytale that ended too soon.
That being said, the Bayern bosses have secured a top manager to try and fill the huge void left behind by Flick’s exit. Nagelsmann is widely regarded as one of the best young coaching talents, and at Bayern, he will have a world class squad and a top notch team of assistants and staff at his disposal. This seems like a match made in heaven, right? If only it were that easy.
At Bayern, Nagelsmann will be under constant pressure to perform. Bayern being one of the world’s biggest and best clubs in terms of sporting success, the coach will be judged on how well he fares in the Champions League. The Bundesliga and DFB Pokal titles are must-wins, and he has to do all this while managing a deep squad filled with some big egos. He also has additional tasks like keeping the players happy, ensuring that communication with Brazzo and the club management go smoothly and integrating talented youngsters into the first team. No pressure.
All that being said, here are five reasons why Nagelsmann will be successful in Bavaria, and might even be primed to enjoy unprecedented success with Bayern Munich:
Nagelsmann is Bavarian through and through. He hails from Landsberg am Lech, 65km west of Munich, and has been a huge Bayern fan since childhood. He would thus fit right in from the very start, and should have no problems with communication. This should also be advantageous to his relationship with Bayern ‘player-coach’ Thomas Müller, who is an “extended arm of the coach,” as famously stated by former coach Hansi Flick.
Many a coach has failed at Bayern because of his inability to use Müller effectively, but this might not be a problem under Nagelsmann, who acknowledges the importance of players like Lewandowski and Müller. Already off to a good start.
Coached Bayern players before
Niklas Süle, Serge Gnabry and Dayot Upamecano have been coached by Nagelsmann before. Süle and Gnabry flourished under Nagelsmann during his Hoffenheim days, while Upamecano was a regular at CB under Nagelsmann at RB Leipzig. Süle has spoken very highly of Nagelsmann’s abilities as a manager, while Gnabry attributes a huge part of his development to the coach, and was full of praise for his ability to bring the best out of his players.
Upamecano of course, will be returning to play under a name he’s now super familiar with. Nagelsmann and Upamecano both come to Bayern on the back of a successful season with Leipzig, finishing runners up in both the Bundesliga and the DFB-Pokal. Nagelsmann achieved all that with a squad that doesn’t have a good, consistent no. 9. Imagine a Nagelsmann coached team with arguably the world’s best attack.
Smart pressing + defensive solidity
Nagelsmann-coached teams have always been super exciting to watch. Be it his 2015-2018 Hoffenheim side or his 2018-2021 Leipzig side, there have always been fireworks on the pitch when his teams have been in action. A huge proponent of gegenpressing, Nagelsmann’s sides have always played attractive, high-pressing football centered around smart movements and a compact structure.
His style could be seen as similar to Hansi Flick’s, except in this case, unlike Flick’s high press, Nagelsmann-coached sides employ a “smart-press,”i.e. isolating players and pressing at the right time to force a turnover that can generate a goal scoring opportunity. This means that the team structure remains more compact while also not exhausting the energy of the entire squad in the first 60 minutes.
Another feature of his teams has been their stellar defensive record. Over the past three seasons, his Leipzig side have conceded an average of 32.67 goals per season, which is the lowest of any BuLi club over the same period. In a time when defensive solidity is the first thing Bayern needs, Nagelsmann’s entry could prove to be a breath of fresh air in the defensive side of things.
Pedigree (tried and tested)
Sure, Nagelsmann may not have won any major trophies yet, but that could be attributed to the limitations of his squads rather than any inability on his part. At Bayern, he’ll have one of the world’s best squads to execute his plans, and there’s no reason to believe he won’t do it with aplomb.
At Leipzig, Nagelsmann managed to take a Werner-less Leipzig side (Werner was their top scorer till that point that season) to the 2019/2020 Champions League semi-finals, beating an in-form Atletico Madrid in the process. The following season, he guided Leipzig out of a super tough group that also had Manchester United and PSG in it, dispatching the club from Manchester to the Europa league in the process.
Moreover, Nagelsmann-coached sides have always been a thorn on Bayern Munich’s backside. In 10 games against Bayern, Nagelsmann has 2 victories, 4 draws and 4 losses. If that isn’t a good indicator of his abilities as a coach, I don’t know what is.
Last but by no means least, Nagelsmann is great with player relations. He always manages to get the best out of his players while also maintaining a cordial relationship with them. His relatively young age also enables him to understand the thoughts and feelings of his players better. Hansi Flick has spoken to Nagelsmann, and he expects the coach to have a lot of fun with this Bayern side.
The coach is also great at developing young talent and making them first team stars. He has played a crucial role in the development of players like Gnabry, Süle, Upamecano, Sabitzer, Nkunku, Tyler Adams, Dani Olmo, Konrad Laimer... (this list is super long, so I’ll stop here). Recent reports have revealed that Nagelsmann also has big plans for the youngsters at Bayern Munich. This might be a sign of good things to come for players like Nianzou, Chris Richards and Jamal Musiala, who are deemed as some of the world’s most talented young players. Exciting times lie ahead!
What do you think of Bayern’s new coach? Do you back him for huge success? Let us know in the comments!