clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Weekend Warm-up: Three players out to prove something at the World Cup; Will Bayern Munich discover its true self without Sadio Mané?; Throwing it back to Drive-By Truckers; World Cup predictions; and MORE!

Beer at the World Cup? Pssh, who needs that? Everyone...everyone needs it.

USA Portraits - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Photo by Patrick Smith - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

With Bayern Munich on break, millions of eyes will be focused on the World Cup in the coming days.

While the tournament itself is enough to capture the hearts and minds of fans worldwide, there is a game within the game. Several players will be looking to prove themselves for various reasons.

Let’s take a look at some of the players who have the most to gain — or lose — in the next few weeks:

Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal (Manchester United)

Much-maligned of late and with very little interest in his services, it is hard to think of one of the game’s all-time greats as being “unwanted” — but that might be exactly where he is at for the moment.

After taking a blowtorch to Manchester United and subsequently watching Bayern Munich deny having interest in him once again, the Portuguese legend is at the crossroads of a precipice (as Little Carmine from The Sopranos once said) for his career.

With a strong showing for Portugal, Ronaldo might be angling to convince a Champions League club to at least make a short-term investment in him for the second half of this season.

Benjamin Pavard, France (Bayern Munich)

Pavard, who is drawing interest from FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, AC Milan, and Chelsea FC, is in a great spot. The defender is on a World Cup favorite, with a starting role at a time where he needs to showcase himself for a potential transfer next summer.

The only hitch in Pavard’s plan to potentially make himself a lot of money during this World Cup is that he won’t be playing his desired position of center-back. As he does for Bayern Munich, Pavard will play right-back for France.

It will be a huge stepping stone for Pavard to turn in another stellar World Cup performance (he was very good in 2018) to help convince other clubs that he will be worth the investment next summer.

All signs point to Pavard leaving Bayern Munich either way during the summer, but will he find a club that wants him as a center-back?

Christian Pulisic, United States (Chelsea FC)

Somehow, the USMNT star has started to gain doubters in his homeland. In fact, some folks are already pushing for Pulisic to make way for a new generation of players. People have short memories and even less patience.

This United States squad has talent, but the biggest question surrounding the team is if the talent is actually good enough? Whether he likes it or not some people view Pulisic as the person responsible for pushing that talent over-the-top — and not coach Gregg Berhalter.

Pulisic’s club career at Chelsea probably is not going the way he or the way anyone else had planned. A good player, who is caught up in a club that has incredible depth of talent, he is not getting a chance to shine. How long he will remain there or if he can rise to a starting spot is anyone’s guess.

For the Pennsylvania player’s sake, hopefully he can elevate his teammates — while also taking game to another level. Maybe then, he can be freed from both the playing times shackles on him at Chelsea and the blame of the United States not being at the level many want them to be at.


Who needs to prove the most at this World Cup?

This poll is closed

  • 50%
    Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal (Manchester United)
    (141 votes)
  • 4%
    Benjamin Pavard, France (Bayern Munich)
    (13 votes)
  • 32%
    Christian Pulisic, United States (Chelsea FC)
    (90 votes)
  • 12%
    Someone else — tell us who and why in the comments.
    (36 votes)
280 votes total Vote Now

Song of the Week: “Aftermath USA” by Drive-By Truckers

This is a song that you might not be aware of even though it came out in 2006 (16 years ago!) unless you were tuned into some adult contemporary music at the time. I was turned on this during one of my — now infamous — long drives to work when I would leave my house at 4:30AM.

Those...were the days.

I am a fan of quite a few Drive-By Truckers songs, but I think this one always hit home the most because I think this is definitely a path I could have gone down in life. Every morning would be an aftermath of the night before.

The line “the smell of musk and deception” just gets me EVERY...SINGLE...TIME. Anyway, enjoy it:

Minus Mané, Bayern could find its true self

Sadio Mané is an incredible talent — let’s just get that out of the way.

However, the Senegalese attacker will be shelved for roughly three-to-four months (at least two of which will not matter because it will be during the break for Bayern Munich). This break will, however, give manager Julian Nagelsmann a chance to look at what his lineup would look like if the club did not splurge on Mané.

Is a mix of Kingsley Coman, Leroy Sané, Serge Gnabry, and Jamal Musiala powerful and effective enough to win games? I’d say yes — and I think it will open some eyes on Säbener Straße. I think what Bayern Munich will learn is that they really did not need to go out and make a splash with the former Liverpool man.

Mané is a great guy, a team player, and has been solid during his time with Bayern Munich so far, but he is also a bit of a roadblock from the club seeing if the four aforementioned players can carry the load on the wings.

It’s hard to turn down a player like Mané, but in some ways it might have been nice to empower those four players to try and take the reins. Now, we’ll get a chance to see what that might have looked like for the long haul.

Bavarian Podcast Works: Weekend Warm-up Podcast Season 2, Episode 20

Bayern Munich is on break, but its 17 players (16 now with Sadio Mané officially on the shelf) who were called to their international teams for the World Cup certainly are not. There will be a ton of activity for the Bayern boys as the tournament in Qatar is set to kickoff.

What does that mean? There is still plenty to talk about with both the German national team and with Bayern Munich. Predictions, transfer talk, a deep dive into the decision-making of a phenom, and more!

Let’s get right to it and see what we have on tap for this episode:

  • A look at Germany’s unconvincing performance against Oman why it isn’t time to panic yet, and how this can all round into form pretty quickly.
  • A run through each World Cup group with predictions on who will survive and advance.
  • Is Paul Wanner Bayern Munich’s Anakin Skywalker?
  • Why the end is near for Benjamin Pavard at Bayern Munich.
  • A quick look back at what to think about Bayern Munich’s first half of the season.
  • We’ve got all of that and even a little more as I — finally — found something (somewhat) good to say about the final season of The Walking Dead. And yes, I realize that I am probably the only knucklehead still watching it!

Entertainment Rundown

The Walking Dead

For the first time in seasons (!?), I found last week’s episode interesting (maybe tolerable if the right word, but I’m trying to be positive). Let’s dive into why (and maybe my subconscious a little to):

  • There was legit intrigue. The protagonists were placed into multiple tough situations where it seems like there is very little way out — and we were left hanging to see what happened.
  • Judith got shot. Lydia was bitten by a walker and had part of her arm amputated. The larger part of the group was swarmed by zombies. Another part of the group was swept away with the walkers. Finally, it appears, there was drama — and perhaps even some major characters who might not survive.
  • This was literally the first time in a very long time that I watched an episode and thought to myself, “Wow, that was...okay.”

I will say, I do not know how much audiences need or want all of the planned spinoffs. The main series clearly was dragged on so long that people have drifted away from the universe. The initial spin-offs, Fear the Walking Dead, Walking Dead: World Beyond, and Tales of The Walking Dead are all terrible (and by terrible, I mean uninteresting and unwatchable), so there is not much reason to hope these will be much better. Let’s take a look at the for giggles:

  • The Walking Dead: Dead City — The premise? A mini-series featuring Maggie and Neagan taking on zombie-infested Manhattan. Two great actors and characters, but a premise that could go off the rails quickly. (Expected release: April 2023)
  • Daryl Dixon — The premise? Daryl (easily the show’s best, most consistent character) somehow ends up in Paris and fights the evolved zombies. As much as Daryl is a great character and Norman Reedus is terrific, this doesn’t sound all that appealing. Still, people will watch because of the character. I don’t expect this to be a huge phenomenon, though. (Expected release: Unknown)
  • Rick and Michonne — The premise? The rollicking adventures of a reunited Rick and Michonne. Both awesome characters...but that ship has sailed. (Expected release: Unknown)

Dumb and Dumber…as a thriller?

Okay, I don’t know why I love this as much as I do. I’m a massive Dumb and Dumber fan and this this is brilliant:


Again, I was terrible last week, so let’s try our hand at some World Cup entries:

  • Qatar 1-2 Ecuador
  • England 3-0 Iran
  • Senegal 1-3 Netherlands
  • USA 2-2 Wales
  • Argentina 4-0 Saudi Arabia
  • Denmark 3-0 Tunisia
  • Mexico 2-1 Poland
  • France 2-1 Australia
  • Morocco 0-2 Croatia
  • Germany 2-0 Japan
  • Spain 2-1 Costa Rica
  • Belgium 2-1 Canada
  • Switzerland 4-1 Cameroon
  • Uruguay 1-1 South Korea
  • Portugal 2-0 Ghana
  • Brazil 3-2 Serbia

Prediction Records

The final week before a long week proved to be as difficult to pick as I expected.

  • Last match day’s record: 4-5
  • Overall Bundesliga record: 64-69
  • DFL-Supercup record: 1-0
  • DFB-Pokal record: 2-0
  • Champions League record: 5-1
  • WWU overall record: 72-72
  • Guest predictions: 7-4

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Bavarian Football Works Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Bayern Munich news from Bavarian Football Works