Dayot Upamecano got his first official appearance for Bayern Munich in the books in their 3-2 preseason friendly loss against FC Koln. While it won’t count towards his competitive Bayern Munich account, it was the first time we’ve seen him in a Bayern shirt ahead of a season where he will likely be one of Julian Nagelsmann’s starting center backs.
Upamecano lined up alongside Chris Richards, new signing Omar Richards, and 21-year-old Josip Stanišić in Bayern’s back four. While it wasn’t a stellar outing for any of the four defenders, Upamecano was a solid presence and hardly put a foot wrong. Individually, he wasn’t at fault for either of the two Koln goals he was on the pitch for before Nagelsmann made a bevvy of changes to start the second half. It was clear that Stefan Baumgart and Koln had a strategy of man-marking Upamecano off the ball when Bayern was trying to play out of the back because they’re well aware of the distribution he’s capable of. Even still, he was calm, consice, and productive with his passes out from the back when he was able to get in possession.
Despite lining up in a backline that spoke three different languages and hardly had any experience playing alongside one another, Upamecano said that he felt comfortable and that there was good communication on the pitch (FCBayern.com). “I have had very good feelings with my new team and I am happy to have played my first game. We have talked a lot on the pitch. I have had good feelings. All the people here are very friendly. The result is not good. In the next game we want to do better,” the former RB Leipzig man said.
Backup keeper Sven Ulreich, who’s returned to Bayern after a season-long stint at Hamburg SV, started in goal and played the first half before being replaced by Ron Thorben-Hoffmann. Speaking after the match, he felt that the new signings in (Omar) Richards and Upamecano had positive performances. “The new signings had a good debut. Omar is very nimble down the flank and has good control of the ball. Upa’s very much about robustness and tackles. It’s also not easy for them to find their feet in the team when there are no regular first-team players there. So, they did very well and will surely get a few more games as well,” Ulreich explained.