The 2021/2022 season holds a lot of uncertainty for Bayern Munich. A new coach + some new players + a stronger Bundesliga, could equal big problems for the Bavarians.
With so many possibilities for how Julian Nagelsmann will align his squad and who will fill those positions, here are three bold predictions for the upcoming season.
Jamal Musiala will overtake Leroy Sané, Serge Gnabry, and Kingsley Coman on the depth chart
Jamal Musiala is a gem of a prospect, but much like Stringer Bell in season three of The Wire, the young Germany international wants to go from crawling to running with no step of walking in between.
And he is fully capable of doing it.
Even when compared to his older, more heralded teammates, Musiala has shown a dynamic presence and ability on the pitch. What more, his performances have been very consistent—more than we can say for the three aforementioned stars.
If Musiala can get enough playing time to establish himself, the youngster could show enough quality to convince Nagelsmann to give him a regular role in the squad.
Each of the four wingers are strong dribblers with good creative ability, but Musiala seems to have the best vision of the quartet, and he might already be as good a scoring threat as Gnabry. With Coman’s future uncertain (and probably too expensive for Bayern Munich’s tastes), Musiala could prove to be a natural successor even if the wing is not his natural position.
Dayot Upamecano will struggle under the bright lights of Bavaria
The former RB Leipzig center-back has a ton of talent and also has experience in working under Nagelsmann, but playing for Bayern Munich is, well, different. The pressure to perform—and the hungry players on the depth chart—can create an uneasiness that makes the game seem a little faster and a little more important than it really may be.
Upamecano was not only a (relatively) big-money signing for this transfer window, but he is also essentially the only major transfer for the club this past window (the manager aside). Unless the kid is immune to pressure, it will assuredly be there...always looming and always seeking to impact his play.
One mistake could snowball into three, three mistakes can quickly turn into a slump. That is how it works sometimes. This is not to say Upamecano will be a bust (he likely won’t), but it will not always be smooth sailing for the Frenchman, either.
Quality depth from youth players will be an issue
The lack of development by Bayern Munich’s youth players has left an odd void in the first team. Instead of a balanced mix of stars, strategic transfers, and homegrown players, the Bavarians are scavenging for free transfers like Omar Richards to compensate for the lack of available—and ready—campus players.
The lack of opportunity at for youngsters Bayern Munich has led talents like Niklas Dorsch and Angelo Stiller to bolt for greener pastures, while other top prospects like Chris Richards and Lars Lukas Mai have needed loans to get valuable first-team playing time.
Some bargain basement signings have worked out (Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting), while others have been subpar at best (Bouna Sarr). Moreover, when Bayern Munich has gambled on young players from outside the club, like Marc Roca or Tiago Dantas, inherent flaws in those players’ respective games have prevented them from making an impact.
The injury gods are always there and willing to strike down Bayern Munich. Will the Bavarians have enough talent to compensate for any key injuries? Hopefully the club—and the fans—don’t have to find out.