Even from a very young age, Julian Nagelsmann has always had an affinity for Bayern Munich. Despite suiting up for rivals FC Augsburg and 1860 Munich during his playing days, Bayern has always been his favorite club to support, and he’s always possessed a true understanding of the Mia San Mia mantra. His playing career was cut short due to injury problems, but his managerial career has taken him down a path destined to wind up at the club he’s supported since he was a young boy after stints in charge of TSG Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig. What he lacks in experience, he makes up for with his tactical awareness, charisma, man management, and creativeness.
In a recent interview with Bild, Bayern’s new manager recalled supporting the club as a child, referencing his memory of the 1999 Champions League final loss to Manchester United. “As a fan, even as a very small child. I still remember: One of the toughest moments was the lost Champions League final in 1999 against Manchester United. My dad was a ‘Gladbach fan, so it wasn’t that bad for him. For my brother and me, we both cried a lot back then,” he reminisced.
In addition to watching some of the greats at Bayern like Oliver Kahn, Lothar Matthaus, Stefan Effenberg, and Hasan Salihamidzic, Nagelsmann also knew that the “Bayern gene” was something quite unique and special from his experiences playing against their youth teams. “This Bayern gene has always fascinated me, I noticed that in youth football when we played against Bayern. It started with the arrival, with the clothes: They arrived very closed, always in a nice bus, broadcast the Mia san mia.” They also took to the field with this self-image,” he explained.
Even playing for Bayern’s rival clubs in both Augsburg and 1860 Munich, Nagelsmann remembers not losing every time he had played against Bayern, but having a recognition and respect for the way Bayern’s young players carried themselves on the pitch. “We didn’t lose every game, but you noticed early on that the young players were also familiar with Mia san mia. And by that I don’t mean arrogance, but trying to be the best and work hard for it. If you work hard, you can embody that,” he said.
With this connection and exposure to Mia Sa Mia from such an early age, one could say Nagelsmann’s appointment as manager of FC Bayern was written in the stars. At Bayern, it’s a pre-requisite for a manager to understand this mentality and is forever engrained in everyone who ever puts on the badge. He might not have as much experience on the world’s biggest stages as some of his predecessors, but between his tenures at Hoffenheim and Leipzig —and taking Die Roten Bullen all the way to the Champions League semi-finals — he’s shown what he’s capable of with squads not as good as Bayern’s. The expectations are high and the pressure is on, but he already possesses the Bayern DNA.