Joshua Zirkzee headed into this preseason with Bayern Munich knowing that he needed to impress. He needed to impress not just Bayern, but he needed to impress other clubs who might be interested in buying or loaning him this summer. Saturday’s miss against Ajax is going to leave a lot to be desired.
Just before halftime against Ajax with the score level at one each, Zirkzee did well to hassle Jurrien Timber on a backpass forcing a turnover just outside of the Ajax penalty area. With one touch, the Dutch forward was past goalkeeper Remko Pasveer. A brilliant play, leaving Zirkzee with just an open net tap-in once he ran the remaining three yards to catch up with the ball. That, however, did not happen.
Zirkzee ♂️ Probably do not fall asleep in front of the goal pic.twitter.com/DVs1Qcdq8Z— Patric (@Simplblue88) July 24, 2021
Zirkzee jogged after the ball, apparently content to try and let it roll all the way to the goal. Perr Schuurs had other ideas, and the Ajax centerback beat Zirkzee to the ball poked it out of bounds for a corner. It wasn’t the lack of skill that led to Zirkzee not scoring his second goal of the preseason, but it was a lack of effort.
“I think and hope he would have been more serious if it was a competitive game,” head coach Julian Nagelsmann said after the game. “He did well before that. There’s no need to speak to him about it, he knows himself that he could have done better.”
While what Nagelsmann said is true (we all hope that Zirkzee would take a competitive game more seriously than a friendly), Zirkzee himself needs to be taking these games seriously. If he stays at Bayern this season, he’s the third striker on the depth chart, unless he’s spending the full season with Bayern II in the Regionalliga (which should not happen, for his sake and the sake of the younger kids there). He’s trying to impress other clubs in Europe in hopes of getting either another loan this season or a full transfer.
It’s all the more disappointing, because Zirkzee has played well so far this summer in the two matches. Still, all of that will be forgotten, and the only thing that will be remembered was this miss.