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Changes incoming? Julian Nagelsmann surprises Bayern Munich stars with a new lineup (Updated)

Lewandowski behind the wingers? Thomas Muller as a #8? Is Nagelsmann changing everything, or nothing at all?

FC Bayern München v 1. FC Köln - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Christian Kaspar-Bartke/Getty Images

Either Julian Nagelsmann is making waves at Bayern Munich, or the media has all of us hyped up for nothing. While the club’s test games were ... disappointing, to say the least, the new coach has the luxury of getting two weeks of uninterrupted training time with all of his main players to mold them into a functional team. Apparently, this is what he came up with.

As reported by Sport1’s Florian Plettenberg, Nagelsmann drew up his new starting XI in a 4-3-3 with some I weird quirks, which you’ll undoubtedly notice for yourself:

*Gasp* A brand new lineup?

Maybe. We don’t know if this is really indicative of what Bayern will look like in a game, or just another case of a coach using his own funky methods to talk about the same old 4-2-3-1 system we’re all used to. Without seeing it in action, it’s hard to judge. For now, here are some actual takeaways:

  • It looks like Josip Stanisic may indeed be ahead of Omar Richards in the pecking order, at least for the moment. If Alphonso Davies doesn’t get fit in time for next week’s Bundesliga opener against Gladbach, we may be seeing the youngster make an appearance at LB for Bayern.
  • Putting Robert Lewandowski behind the wingers doesn’t really mean much for now — the way Lewy plays, he always drops back into midfield to collect the ball and hold it up for his teammates. Presumably, Nagelsmann intends to continue that tradition. Whether Lewandowski will be given any added duties in the new coach’s system remains to be seen. The Pole is no playmaker, but his passing abilities have always been underrated.
  • Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka are in their usual positions, but Thomas Muller is placed deeper as a #8, rather than a #10. Is this a simple consequence of moving Lewy deeper on the board to Thomas’ spot, or does Nagelsmann really want to convert Muller into a true central midfielder? We’ll have to wait and see. Funnily enough, Niko Kovac tried something similar in the early part of 2019/2020 — the consequences were disastrous.
  • Looks like Tanguy Nianzou is ahead of Niklas Sule even though the latter returned fit from vacation. Judging by the youngster’s performances in preseason, unseating him from the XI will be a daunting task for any center-back.
  • Kingsley Coman and Leroy Sane seem to be ahead of Gnabry on the lineup. This could just be a case of Plettenberg trying to fit all of the main names into one graphic without distorting the formation, or maybe Nagelsmann already has an idea of who his starting wingers will be.

Update

Here’s some extra info from kicker which claims that Omar Richards is behind Stanisic in the pecking order right now, corroborating Plettenberg’s assessments.