Julian Nagelsmann recently described Kingsley Coman as “one of Europe’s best” wingers in football, and the French international has been a trusted asset at Bayern Munich for Nagelsmann. He was one of a small selection of players that seemed to still consistently string together effective performances last season when Bayern was going through a bit of a rut and were dropping points where they shouldn’t have. So far this season, he’s picked up right where he left off, after serving his two-match red card suspension for Bayern’s Bundesliga opening wins against Eintracht Frankfurt and VfL Wolfsburg. He marked his return to action with a goal and three assists in Bayern’s 7-0 dismantling of VfL Bochum.
Under Nagelsmann, and quite frankly, most of his predecessors at Bayern, Coman has predominantly been utilized as a winger, though that’s not the only position he can play. At Bayern, before this season there had so often been the presence of Robert Lewandowski, a natural, No. 9 striker, but that’s no longer the case in what’s looked to be a new-look Bayern attack full of fluidity and creativity.
In a recent interview with kicker, Coman explained that he actually much prefers a No. 10 or central attacking role, different to the wide position that he’s most often deployed at by Nagelsmann. In all four of his competitive appearances this season, he played as a right winger, but that’s something he said he feels could, in theory, change. “I can play the ten on the left and on the right side. I used to play on the ten. I’m very flexible – and more of a striker than a joker,” Coman told kicker, referencing a wider role with defensive responsibilities when he said ‘joker’ (tz).
If we look back to the 2017/18 Champions League campaign for Bayern, too, we can see that Coman’s claim isn’t as farfetched as it may sound with how natural of a winger he looks to be — that is his best position. In Bayern’s group stage, 2-1 win over Celtic in that season, Coman scored the first of Bayern’s two goals, having jointly led the attacking line with James Rodriguez and Arjen Robben. In that particular match, the interchangeability was such that either of the three at varying points seemed to assume the false 9 role, and Coman scored his goal from that sort of position after a long ball over the top. He can play that role and be effective at it.
You might recall, that was the same match where Javi Martinez scored the game-winning header late on and cut a Terry Butcher-esque figure after having to have a significant head gash bandaged up. At the time, Lewandowski was dealing with a muscular issue and was thus left out of the lineup.