Julian Nagelsmann’s tenure at Bayern Munich has been filled with far more successes than failures, but for all of the hype surrounding him and the wins that he has overseen, the results have not been overwhelmingly good so far this season.
A mere one trophy for the 2021/22 season already had some fans questioning the hire and the inauspicious start to this season has some others starting to wonder if Nagelsmann is truly “the one” to lead Bayern Munich.
Admittedly, if looking at the straight numbers, outside observers would likely think some Bayern Munich fans are crazy to have doubts about Nagelsmann. There are, however, at least some red flags:
- The rumored unhappiness of players: A consistent storyline this season, everything from playing time to tactics to an alleged “look at me” attitude has made the players a bit bitter. How true any of those stories are is up for debate, but Nagelsmann almost certainly is not getting a 100% approval rating on any of those subjects from within the locker room...and that is actually completely normal. While there will always be players doubting coaching decisions, Nagelsmann’s communication with players has been one thing that he should be taking seriously. Like it or not, he has to be better at that and recent reports indicate that he is making strides.
- The constant reassurance from the front office: I don’t get the impression that the front office would be issuing so many votes of confidence if they were not holding at least a few “What the (bleep)?” discussions in the executive suite. I also don’t believe Nagelsmann is in any imminent danger of being sacked, but I do think the front office has seen at least a few cracks in the foundation emerge. My guess is the situation is being monitored ever so slightly from afar, but absolutely no one is thinking about firing the manager.
- The tinkering madness and handling of young players: Nagelsmann has not been as bad with his tinkering this season as he was last year. He has settled into a 4-2-2-2 formation and stuck with it, which has helped. Still, his rotation and substitution patterns often draw the ire of fans and have reportedly made some players unhappy (see above). This has actually been an area of improvement for Nagelsmann, but it is far from perfect. With so much veteran talent on his roster, Nagelsmann has had trouble integrating his young players and that has caused some friction.
- The reluctance to relent on his tactics: One of the primary post mortem points from Robert Lewandowski’s exit is that the now-FC Barcelona striker did not exactly see eye-to-eye with Nagelsmann on how he was use. Spacing, positioning, and the roles of the players surrounding him were all issues for Lewandowski — who is probably the best striker on Earth. If Nagelsmann had trouble finding the best way to use Lewandowski, what does that say for how he would handle another player of that ilk (say...Harry Kane).
All of those things listed about eventually have to be fixed or improved upon. Even if that happens, however, there is no guarantee that Nagelsmann will ever reach the heights of Hansi Flick or Jupp Heynckes.
Maybe that’s okay…but probably not. Nagelsmann had a lofty standard to live up to and unless he can figure out a way to survive without a striker, keep his team progressing, avoid losing the locker room, and avoid serious injuries, it could be tough sledding for the head coach.
Not too big a deal, right?
Nagelsmann certainly has the brains and coaching ability to make this work. Whether he achieves the necessary success to make himself a club legend, however, remains to be seen.
I’m still onboard with Nagelsmann...are you?
Do you think Julian Nagelsmann can be the coach to lead Bayern Munich to treble-winning heights?
This poll is closed
Yes - I like what I’ve seen and his potential is great.
Yes - It has not been all smooth so far, but he is a good coach and has the support of the front office.
No - He’s a good coach, but this job is too big for him.
No - He’s in way over his head.
Song of the Week: “Been Caught Stealing” by Jane’s Addiction
One of the seminal alt-rock bands of the 90s, Jane’s Addiction had quite a few hits...a whole hell of a lot of songs that didn’t get nearly the same recognition, but were quality.
One of my personal favorites from that era of Jane’s Addiction was “Been Caught Stealing.” Released in November of 1990, I was in my freshman year of high school and the first time I heard the song I was blown away. Chaotic, frantic, and all over the place...I loved it. I hope you enjoy it, too:
House of the Dragon
This was, perhaps, the best episode of HotD to date. I know, I know...for once I am starting a review in a positive manner! I assure you, I was not hitting the bottle as I wrote this...let’s dig in:
- Lord Corlys Velaryon is not dead...yet, but he was (possibly fatally) injured while fighting in the Stepstones (why is there always so much drama there?). Naturally, the plot begins to unfold over who will take his place on the throne at Driftwood should he die. Will it be his aggressive and mouthy brother Vaemond? Princess Rhaenys Targaryen (Corlys’ wife)? Or his rightful heir, Prince Lucerys Velaryon (son of Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and Ser Harwin Strong, but technically credited to be the son of Ser Laenor Velaryon)? Got all that? They take that mess to King’s Landing and seek to get it sorted out in the throne room.
- A lot of politicking was going down for the entirety of the episode and poor ol’ King Viserys just wanted his family together for a dinner.
- We also learned that Prince Aegon is a major perve/rapist (Sidenote: The foreshadowing came in the form of him spanking the monkey outside his bedroom window a few episodes ago...speaking of Spanking the Monkey...anyone remember that bizarre indie flick from the 90s? I assure you, it’s not porn, but is messed up nonetheless), so there is that as well. That factoid ended up being just a minor part of the storyline. Prince Aemond, however, is now a certified bad ass Targaryen in the mold of his uncle Daemon.
- I know this has become a social media phenomenon, but the names do cause some tongue-twisting and confusion.
- The two major dramatic points of the episode were filled with intensity. First, Otto Hightower was holding court in the throne room to hear each side’s case for who should be the boss at Driftwood, but as he was ready to get moving, King Viserys dragged himself (literally) into the throne room to intercede. As Vaemond Velaryon was being told he was not going to be the person to fill the position, he got angry, said Princess Rhaenyra’s sons were bastards and that she was a whore. Uh-oh. For that Prince Daemon took a sword to his neck and beheaded him.
- The second part of the drama occurred at the family dinner which was equally nice, awkward, and then tense. Viserys just wanted a nice meal and then his warring family members could not help themselves from making it a mess. There tension between the boys (the sons of Queen Alicent and King Viserys and the sons of Princess Rhaenyra and Ser Harwin Strong) is really palpable and will surely be a plot point moving forward.
- In the end, the biggest plot point was that King Viserys was delusion in his final moments, revealed the prophecy about “the prince who was promised” wrongly to Queen Alicent (he believed he was talking to Princess Rhaenyra), who will likely now think her rapist son is the “one” — not one of the 85 other Aegons that are sure to come.
- RIP King Viserys. Perhaps the best of the worst group of characters that has ever been assembled (meaning they are all bad people, not bad characters or bad actors). If there was any one character who was the show’s moral compass, it was Viserys (except for condoning marrying off kids to adults and the incest...always with the incest).
- I liked the pacing and drama of the episode and I feel like the show has finally rounded into capturing what it really is. It’s not Game of Thrones...it’s an off-shoot that will never capture the complexities and intricacies of the original. It’s less about grand storylines and character arcs and more about direct conflict and action...and that’s good. The self-awareness — if it sticks — will help the storylines progress without an overload of wasted screen time.
- On Twitter, an account stated that for the show to tell the story properly, it will take four seasons with 10 episodes in each per George RR Martin. Wil the show follow that pathway?
The Walking Dead
I’m not even going to break this down bullet style.
I knew this season was going to be a mess. It was plain to see, but I could not even imagine how slow and uninteresting the plot is. For a once-great show in its last season, there is zero sense of urgency to make this final season entertaining.
Is anyone else out there watching this mess...or is it just me? Anyway, I will finish this season off because I am stubborn like that, but man...it’s not good.
As always, we’ll shift it over to zippy for Rings of Power.
Rings of Power
Episode 7 of Rings of Power — we’re one week behind, per usual — deals mostly with the aftermath of episode 6. Pacing-wise, it’s a curious choice. The penultimate episode of S1 leaves us entering the finale not knowing what to expect.
- Mount Doom has erupted, covering the Southlands — now Mordor — in cloud and ash. The survivors straggle away.
- Sauron candidate #1, Halbrand, makes a scant appearance at the end of the episode and it’s only to swear through gritted teeth that he won’t let the bad guys get their way like this. Very un-Sauron-like, no?
- But he’s still the top candidate. It turns out he has an injury that only Elves can heal — and now he’s to journey to Lindon with Galadriel. Sauron, in lore, arrives disguised in Lindon to pitch the Elves on the idea of fashioning the Rings of Power (roll credits).
- Durin is a delight. More screen time for him, please! His affection for his friend Elrond is touching, even if his father’s opposition to his desire to mine mithril is — we know — well-founded.
- The Harfoots are undergoing some positive character development as a society. After encountering the weird magic characters tracking The Stranger, whom they are exiling, they decide that they shouldn’t leave anyone behind (in fact, they have had a whole policy of doing this, but it’s nice aspirational stuff). Nori sets off to warn him, companions in tow.
- Galadriel, too, is visibly shaken by the eruption and shows growth of her own. One episode ago, she was threatening genocide on the Uruks and nearly kills a captive Adar. Now, she imparts wisdom to Theo, who’s at a point where he really needs to hear this: that dark thoughts blacken our own hearts. Perhaps she’s speaking to herself as well.
- I really enjoyed Theo’s arc over the course of this season. He’s exchanged his discovered evil sword — which hinted at future darkness — for Galadriel’s Elven blade.
- Durin tosses Elrond’s mithril-healed leaf down the sealed-up mithril mine shafts. The camera follows it down and it lands...right next to a Balrog, who stirs in rage from its slumber. I guess we’re definitely going to get the downfall of Khazad-dûm, huh? (whispers: it doesn’t happen until year 1980 of the Third Age)
- I have little patience for the amount of effort the show goes into teasing deaths that are obviously not going to happen. Isildur is alive and we all know it. I guess Elendil doesn’t, which is the point, but the Elf-friend turning on Galadriel and wishing he’d never helped her now, instead of directing his rage at the enemy as Queen-Regent Míriel does...it doesn’t seem in character either.
- Speaking of character deaths, it’s interesting that Galadriel thinks her husband Celeborn has died long ago. As we know, he needs to be around a few thousand years later to drop a verse in the Legolas hit single They’re Taking The Hobbits To Isengard.
- Characters incoming for S2, then? Celeborn returned, Durin’s mysterious brother (things are not OK between him and King Durin Sr. right now), maybe others?
- I really disliked the random choice to add text in the final shot of Mount Doom to clarify that it’s now going to be called Mordor. Like, that’s Mount Doom — we get it? And visually, it’s a jarring departure from the style of the show. But OK. Finale, here we come!
Bayern Munich is still a bit banged up and will likely have some heavy legs, but this is really a “must win” match for the Rekordmeister. Surely, SC Freiburg will be motivated — and while they are a talented side — it is tough to think Bayern Munich will let down (again). Let’s call it a hard-fought victory for the Bavarians.
Prediction: Bayern Munich 2-0 SC Freiburg
Simply put, this is a “take care of business” match for Bayern Munich...and they will.
Prediction: FC Augsburg 0-4 Bayern Munich
Other Bundesliga predictions include:
- Schalke 04 2-1 Hoffenheim
- Eintracht Frankfurt 2-2 Bayer Leverkusen
- VfB Stuttgart 1-1 VfL Bochum
- Werder Bremen 1-0 Mainz 05
- Wolfsburg 1-3 Borussia Mönchengladbach
- RB Leipzig 3-1 Hertha Berlin
- Union Berlin 1-2 Borussia Dortmund
- FC Köln 2-1 FC Augsburg
I still suck...
- Last match day’s overall record: 4-5
- Overall Bundesliga record: 35-46
- DFL-Supercup record: 1-0
- DFB-Pokal record: 1-0
- Champions League record: 4-0
- WWU overall record: 41-46
- Guest predictions: 7-4