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Julian Nagelsmann on Bayern Munich’s mysterious international break turnaround

The Bavarians have come back to hit the back end of the Hinrunde totally rejuveanted.

TSG Hoffenheim v FC Bayern München - Bundesliga
As the ball turns...
Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

Crisis? What crisis?

It seems an age ago now, but at one point this season Bayern Munich were flailing about — so much so that manager Julian Nagelsmann’s job security seemed a legitimate question. It all came to a head September 17, when the proud record champions slumped to a 1-0 derby defeat away at Augsburg to head into the international break on the most listless of lows.

Since then, however, it’s been a different story. Maybe a fun England game jolted everybody wide awake. Or maybe it was some time spent with old pals — Borussia Dortmund’s Niklas Süle, and everybody’s favorite coach Hansi Flick.

Or maybe it was nothing at all. That’s certainly what Julian Nagelsmann thinks.

Nagelsmann: “I think we were playing well even before — we simply didn’t convert our chances,” the Bayern coach said evenly (via @iMiaSanMia) after the latest win, a calm 2-0 affair with TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. “We didn’t change much. Maybe we did a bit more analysis, but the players are very ambitious and want to improve.”

It’s true, Sadio Mané is settling into his role at left-wing, but that trend began earlier. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting has emerged at striker, but even in that 1-0 loss to Augsburg, he was selected as a substitute ahead of wonderkid Mathys Tel (to a chorus of ‘why?’s). Right-wing Leroy Sané? First appeared this season versus FC Barcelona on September 13.

Whatever the case, Bayern’s sour mood has turned to gold. Amid one stumble — a last minute disaster of a concession in Der Klassiker — the Bavarians have outscored opponents 27-6 in the seven games since, with six wins and a draw.

Six games now remain before the next international break — the 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup. Among them, two Champions League tilts against FC Barcelona and Inter Milan. With injuries mounting once again for Bayern, it’ll be up to Nagelsmann to keep this good run going.

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