Albeit just a pre-season friendly, Julian Nagelsmann got his reign as Bayern Munich manager off to a losing start with their 3-2 loss to FC Koln at the MS Technologie-Arena in the Black Forest.
After getting off to a cracking start with a goal from Armindo Seib in the 6th minute, Koln battled back with goals from Jan Thielman and Mark Uth in the 20th and 27th minute, respectively. Largely due to the makeshift lineups, proceedings were rather open and Joshua Zirkzee equalized in the 34th minute. Nagelsmann chose to experiment for the second half in bringing on Bouna Sarr, Michael Cuisance, Tanguy Nianzou, Ron Thorben-Hoffmann, Jamie Lawrence, Lucas Copado, Malik Tillman and Remy Vita. Moritz Mosandl had already come on in the first half for the injured Christopher Scott. Koln looked far more inventive in the second half and found their third with a towering header from Uth in the 56th header, leaving Bayern’s back line bemused.
Despite losing the match, when speaking to MagentaTV after the match (Tz), Nagelsmann said he liked a lot of what he saw from his players. “A first test is always interesting. Considering the squad, it was good. We took a player who was stricken or injured. A couple of players did very well. We had two or three more chances in the first half. It was an entertaining test match,” Bayern’s new manager explained. In particular, Sieb, Zirkzee, and new signing Omar Richards looked bright in the first half aside from Richards’ giveaway that led to Koln’s first goal. Dayot Upamecano also provided a stable presence alongside Chris Richards in the center of th backline, but Koln had made a point of it to not let him get on the ball when Bayern wanted to play out from the back.
I've noticed that when Bayern's defense is on the ball, Koln constantly have at least one player man mark Upamecano, regardless of where the ball is. Often times, it's been Modeste. They don't want Upa on the ball.....— Bavarian Football Works (@BavarianFBWorks) July 17, 2021
At the halftime break, Hasan Salihamidzic was seen in discussion with Sieb, who was one of only two players to play the full match; Torben Rhein was the other. Sieb got himself into dangerous areas a handful of times and caused Koln plenty of problems. Encouragingly, he didn’t look afraid to take anyone on, either, and was one of a handful of players that Nagelsmann lauded after the final whistle.
In der Halbzeit gab es Tipps von @Brazzo, nach der Partie Lob von @J__Nagelsmann für Torschütze Armindo #Sieb. „Drei, vier von den jungen Spielern haben es gut gemacht. Armindo Sieb war gut. Auch Tyler (Booth) oder Malik (Tillman).“ #FCBayern pic.twitter.com/KDKqVyDVbl— Maximilian Koch (@Koch_AZ) July 17, 2021
Bayern has just under three weeks until their first competitive match of the season, which comes in the from of a first round DFB-Pokal clash against Bremer SV. Just seven days after that is their Bundesliga opener against Borussia Monchengladbach. Between now and then, Bayern still has three more friendly matches to play; AFC Ajax, ‘Gladbach, and SSC Napoli, for which Nagelsmann explained will be predominantly comprised of the players we saw play against Koln, and the Euro 2020 stars will return in that time span as well. “This squad will also play the three test matches, then the national players will come in — we won’t have much time then, but we’ll manage it all. It’s nice to be coach of Bayern, but the right feeling comes not in a test match, but in the first competitive match in the arena,” Nagelsmann said.