There’s no disguising the fact that Bayern Munich is going through a transition of sorts. Bringing in a new manager in Julian Nagelsmann from RB Leipzig as well as losing veterans Jerome Boateng, David Alaba, and Javi Martienz will present its set of challenges after what was a remarkable tenure under Hansi Flick. They’ve brought in Dayot Upamecano and Omar Richards as defensive reinforcements, but will Bayern still be the dominant force in the Bundesliga that they have been for the past decade? Dietmar Hamann is not so confident that will be the case.
In a recent television appearance on Sky Germany (via Sport Bild), Hamann said that he thinks this will be Borussia Dortmund’s season to dethrone Bayern in the Bundesliga for the first time since Jurgen Klopp was their manager. The front office changes as well as the loss of Boateng and Alaba is something that Hamann feels will make things incredibly difficult for Bayern to go on and lift their tenth consecutive Meisterschale. “With Boateng and Alaba, Bayern have lost two heavyweights in central defense. You have to see how quickly Nagelsmann finds a solid pair in the defense center. And in addition to the defensive is also the coach and Oliver Kahn, the new chairman of the board. There has to be a lot first. That’s why I believe in Dortmund as a champion,” Hamann explained.
Dortmund has also gone through a bit of a small transition of their own as well. They’ve brought in Marco Rose from Borussia Monchengladbach and have lost Jadon Sancho to Manchester United in the Premier League. Despite this, Hamann feels that Rose will benefit from having a collectively better and deeper squad at Dortmund, more so than what he was working with at ‘Gladbach. “He has a qualitatively much broader squad than last year in Gladbach. Rose has already done a great job there. And at BVB he also has Erling Haaland. With him on the team, the club has very good chances. Especially since Jadon Sancho was replaced well,” he said.
To replace Sancho, Dortmund acquired Donyell Malen from PSV Eindhoven after what was a thoroughly impressive Euro 2020 campaign for the Netherlands from him. “With his speed and technology, it fits in perfectly with the BVB philosophy. Even if he needs some time to find his way around,” Hamann said of Dortmund’s new signing.
Hamann highlighted Bayern’s defense as one of the biggest potential problem areas. Even with the acquisition of Upamecano, he doesn’t feel that Bayern has that true leader in their backline anymore without Alaba, who Flick had dubbed his “defensive chief,” during the treble winning 2019/20 season. “[Nagelsmann] lacks a loudspeaker in defense. (Dayot) Upamecano is not. But young players like (Alphonso) Davies or (Omar) Richards need leadership. In addition, (Niklas) Süle always has fitness problems. And what if (Robert) Lewandowski is out for a longer period,” Hamann insisted.