Julian Nagelsmann has gotten his reign as Bayern Munich manager off to a solid start. Three wins in the Bundesliga, one draw, a victory in the DFB-Pokal first round, and a DFL-Supercup title already to his name as Bayern manager, the childhood Bayern fan is already beginning to show what he’s capable of with arguably the most difficult job in German football. Each manager before him at Bayern, while successful for the most part, all brought something different to the table, and that’s something Nagelsmann is cognizant of.
In a recent interview with UEFA.com, Bayern’s new manager outlined his bold ambitions at the club and expressed how much honor it brings him to be able to stand on the touchlines for the club. Prior to coming to Bayern, he already had a track record for success with his time at both TSG Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga, but there’s always a certain element of risk associated with hiring a younger, less experienced manager at one of the world’s biggest football clubs.
For him, though, he doesn’t worry about any of the skeptics waiting to pounce on an opportunity to criticize him. Rather, he’s just honored to have the opportunity. “I’m delighted to have the job. You can tell by looking at me or when I’m standing on the touchline, how much life and energy I put into the job, how much I enjoy it. I’ve got the job but that can’t be the end of it. I want to be successful; I want to win trophies here; I want the fans to be enthusiastic about us. When my time’s over here – and I hope it’s a long one – I hope to have achieved what I wanted to achieve and what others expected of me. Only then can I be proud,” he explained.
Nagelsmann wants there to be variety at Bayern. They’re a club so used to being dominant in possession and working hard to break down compact defenses, but it all starts with a solid defense for Nagelsmann. “The challenge is to become a team with a bit more variety. To do this, we’re going to need a very solid defense, so that our attacks start off well, and so that we’re structured both when we have the ball and if we lose possession – meaning, in the latter case, any dangerous spaces will be covered and we’ll be able to reduce the number of goals we concede,” he explained.
Bayern’s defensive record last season was one of the worst they’ve ever had in terms of the amount of goals conceded. By this point last season, they hard already conceded 8 goals in the Bundesliga, and they’ve only conceded half as much so far this season, thanks largely in part to the center back pairing of Dayot Upamecano and Niklas Sule, and more recently, Upamaceno and Lucas Hernandez in the 4-1 win at RB Leipzig. Nagelsmann is well aware of the defensive struggles Bayern had last season.
“Last year we let in too many. Too many games were too intense and suddenly when it came to the crunch period, many [players] were injured because maybe we’d had to play catch-up in matches too often. If you’ve had to invest a lot, you won’t peak at the right time in March and April, so that’s why we need to keep the goals-against column low so that some games are easier, and we conserve energy for the really big matches,” he emphasized.