As the new coach of Bayern Munich, Julian Nagelsmann has a tough mandate. He needs to win everything including the Champions League, and he has to do with while Bayern’s rivals have done nothing but spend all summer. Chelsea have been looking to strengthen their squad, while PSG have been on a spending spree all year. Even the supposedly broke Barcelona have been making decent signings on the market, if you ignore their massive wage bill. They’ll even re-sign Leo Messi on a cut-price contract.
With Bayern making almost no big investments this transfer window (outside of Dayot Upamecano and Nagelsmann himself) the coach was asked by Sky Sports if he had to adjust his expectations based on the squad's quality. Nagelsmann, who hasn’t put a foot wrong in interviews thus far, gave an ambiguous answer.
“I think it would be the wrong time to say now that we want to have other goals”, said the Bayern coach. “Everyone here is aware that winning the Champions League is extremely difficult.”
“The other teams always have an idea, too. It’s not just FC Bayern, it’s quite normal that there is competition. In the CL, it’s huge. That’s also the case in knockout games, where the form of the day also counts. You have to have a bit of luck. There are a lot of components. These are simply not titles you can plan for, where you don’t have 34 games. In the Champions League, you simply have moments that might go against you.”
That statement doesn’t inspire confidence, especially when you remember how many clubs around Europe have strengthened this summer. Bayern still have an amazing squad, with the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller, and Joshua Kimmich being arguably the best in the world at their respective positions. Therefore, Nagelsmann does refuse to rule anything out.
“Nevertheless, Bayern won the CL two years ago”, he said. “Then it’s also possible to do that next year.”
Let’s hope so, Julian. The Champions League is impossible to predict, and no one knows who’s going to win it in advance. Even under Flick, Bayern weren’t favorites for the tournament until well into the Ro16, when the team smashed Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. It was that game that really made the wider footballing audience sit up and take notice of the Bavarians’ quality. Hopefully, the new coach has a similar wow-moment in store for the rest of Europe this season, and we look forward to seeing it soon.