As the Audi Football Summit came to an end, Bayern Munich finished their pre-season campaign without registering a single win. Today’s game against SSC Napoli was the most disappointing of the lot. While its true that the majority of the first team just returned from their breaks, the fans were expecting a little better from their new coach Julian Nagelsmann. Bayern controlled most of the game before individual mistakes allowed Napoli to bag three goals. Here are the observations:
An all action friendly
This fixture was a friendly only on paper as both teams were involved in a constant physical tussle that only got more intense as the game progressed. Kingsley Coman even had to be subbed off early due to a clash that caught him in the ribs — it was one of many clashes in which players went down clutching a body part but fortunately no other injuries occurred.
Napoli set the tone of the game early on, with their rough tackles and showed no signs of taking any prisoners. The home-side responded with equal aggression and pressing. Napoli however were more efficient giving away only seven fouls while Bayern on the other hand gave away seventeen fouls.
First glimpse of Tanguy Nianzou
The Frenchman was signed last year as a special talent from PSG but the Bavarians hardly ever got to stretch his wheels and take their fresh talent for a spin due to injury. Finally, the 19-year-old showcased his skills in the Allianz Arena with a wonderful performance against Napoli and was a delight to watch when he was on the pitch today.
He was very proactive, constantly getting forward to make early interceptions; made crucial tackles and used his physique to bully the opposition and shield the ball when necessary. His connection with Upamecano also saw improvement from the previous game. Tanguy was also actively charging into the box for set pieces and had a good chance that unfortunately ended in collision with the keeper. All in all, Tanguy will be hard to overlook when it comes to squad selections once the competitive fixtures start.
The Bayern youth
With most of the senior players given an extended break after the Euros, Nagelsmann basically only had the second team to work with as he took over as the head coach of Bayern. As a result, a lot of youngsters were given opportunities to showcase their skills in the pre-season. The youth did not disappoint and were very impressive despite not winning any of the games.
Fearlessness was the primary theme shining across in Nagelsmann’s young Bayern boys. The confidence in themselves to make bold plays and show courage to not back down against players much older than them was laudable. The Ajax game in particular was a skill show that demonstrated the technical abilities of the kids.
Having said that, it was individual mistakes that crashed the party, as often the goals conceded or chances missed came down to individual decisions that could have been better. Nonetheless, the youth in these pre-season games have been very promising with a few even warranting a position in the squad at least as depth players while they continue their development.
Not the ideal start to the Nagelsmann era
It has been far from an ideal start for the prodigal son. Nagelsmann’s much anticipated move to Bayern finally happened after Hansi Flick decided to take up the national team job. It is almost a fairy tale considering Nagelsmann’s Bavarian roots and childhood days as a Bayern fan; and now one of the youngest coaches at the club.
However, despite the hype, its been a slow start so far. The Euros and the following break meant that Nags has had little time with his first team. Also, JN is still in the acclimation phase after making the leap from RB Leipzig to a club of the stature and sheer size of Bayern less than a month ago. His first real test will be in the first round of the DFB-Pokal by which time the players would have shaken off the rust and a better idea of how Bayern will be under Nagelsmann can be deduced.