Even at just 35-years-old, Bayern Munich manager Julian Nagelsmann is widely-regarded as one of the brightest minds in the game.
In coaching, however, results do matter. Theories, strategies, and innovation are all important as well, but the W’s and L’s are typically the most important factors when assessing a coach’s performance.
For Nagelsmann, the next few months could prove vital for his longevity as the head coach in Bavaria. This is not to suggest that Nagelsmann will get sacked if Bayern Munich bows out against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League, but it would be the second consecutive year where the team’s exit would be too premature for the club’s — and the fanbase’s — liking.
Can Nagelsmann push his team to advance or will this be another early exit?
The former RB Leipzig boss can likely withstand one more shortcoming in the Champions League, but his act could start to wear thin on Säbener Straße.
Nagelsmann and sporting director Hasan “Brazzo” Salihamidžić have reportedly not always seen eye-to-eye on personnel and Nagelsmann’s penchant for changing things up seems to have upset the stable structure within the club’s walls at times as well.
Regardless of the PSG outcome, Nagelsmann will almost assuredly get another year at the Allianz Arena, but from there, nothing is guaranteed. Nagelsmann is in charge of a team that is in transition...a team that also underachieved last season and that oddsmakers would say will have a hell of a time reaching its potential this season.
With Hernandez and Neuer both out, downing PSG will not be simple — and even if Bayern Munich survives that tie, the rest of the field awaiting Bayern Munich will not be rife with pushovers.
Nothing will be easy...it never is. Nagelsmann, though, will have to show his coaching prowess. The squad — no matter how depleted — must show something, too.
If not, Bayern Munich might really start pondering who can best lead the team moving forward in the summer of 2024.
Bavarian Podcast Works: Weekend Warm-up Podcast — Season 2, Episode 22
After a one-week hiatus (thanks to Schnitzel for running with a combination Weekend Warm-up Podcast/Postgame Show last week), I am here to talk all things Bayern Munich and Germany...and boy is there a lot to talk about.
With all of that said, let’s get down to it. Here is what we have on tap for this week’s loaded episode of the Weekend Warm-up:
- The aftermath of Germany’s flameout, who’s to blame, why the team failed, where to go from here.
- Other World Cup musings including Brazil’s incredible play, Spain’s failure, the rise to fame for Josko Gvardiol and Dayot Upamecano, and more.
- Bayern Munich’s rumored positional battles and what that means.
- The ridiculous Kingsley Coman for Christian Pulisic swap rumor.
- Bayern Munich’s decision to pass on Joao Felix.
Song of the Midweek: “The Story” by Brandi Carlile
Typically, you see something “hard” or “weird” here, but if you are looking for a song with just about the best songwriting you could ask for you should check out this vintage tune from Brandi Carlile.
Again, this was a song that I grew very familiar with during my 120-mile roundtrip commute phase as it was a staple on 88.5 (Philly’s adult contemporary, publicly-funded station). Released in 2007, it is hard to not listen to these lyrics and envision the entire story she is telling in the song. It’s just a masterful piece of work.
I think the older you get, it just hits a little different, too. Enjoy:
Carlile also recently performed this tune on Saturday Night Live, which brought it up from the archives of my iTunes library.
Bavarian Podcast Works: Flagship Show — Season 5, Episode 24
In this episode of the flagship show, Tom answered questions from Twitter and discussed:
- Is it time for someone to replace Neuer as the #1 keeper for Germany?
- What will Neuer’s leg break mean for Bayern’s goalkeeping situation?
- The future state of Bayern’s back line.
- Whether or not Hansi Flick should utilize some more younger players for Germany.
- Whether or not the short World Cup prep affected Germany/teams that went far in Qatar.
- The importance of Germany getting and finding more natural strikers.
- How academies can help produce more strikers and center-backs.
Can Croatia’s unexpected run to the World Cup continue? Let’s find out.
Croatia vs. Argentina: This is likely Lionel Messi’s final run at a World Cup and all that stands in his way from reaching the title is a little match against a team that almost no one expected to reach this stage (despite its track record of doing such things).
Argentina’s has been good during this tournament, but not convincingly good. That, coupled with some really unsportsmanlike conduct, has now made them the villains of the World Cup in Qatar (at least to me).
Don’t believe me? Check some of this action out below. It is kind of hard to root for a team involved with all of this nonsense:
OH MY— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) December 9, 2022
Things are HEATED between Argentina and Netherlands pic.twitter.com/7NXz93ts8x
Even Saint Messi got in on the act with his actions. First, he went after Louis van Gaal:
Messi had to show Louis van Gaal his place! ️— Leo Messi (@WeAreMessi) December 10, 2022
The during a postgame interview, he had some uncomplimentary things to say to Wout Weghorst:
Lionel Messi to Wout Weghorst after the match: “What are you looking at, dumby? Go back there, dumby. Get back there, yes!” pic.twitter.com/LaJlIgpaRy— SPORTbible (@sportbible) December 10, 2022
I mean...he is the G.O.A.T., but is is very easy to talk junk to an old man and then to some guy across the room when you know there will be 50 people waiting to jump in front of you to take a hit.
Argentina might be the better team here, but can they function together without a total reliance on Messi to will them to a win? I don’t know and now they have out the onus on them of being the tournament d-bags* (*not an officially endorsed World Cup designation).
There is similar doubt as to whether not Croatia can summon another Herculean effort to push away another team that it probably should not beat. The feeling here, however, is that this Croatian side has something internal that is hard to describe. A mental toughness...a fortitude that allows them to battle against the greatest odds.
Ah, what the hell, one more upset.
Prediction: Croatia 2-1 Argentina
France vs. Morocco: The king stay the king. Despite its up-and-down effort against England, France is strong, deep, and absolutely lethal at times.
Morocco, meanwhile, has been the tournament’s feel good story — and likely will have everyone in the world rooting for them (except for France fans). That said, France just looks too strong right now (even if they had a very sketchy against the Three Lions).
I don’t expect Morocco to be immediately affected by France’s speed and relentless attacking, but I do expect the French national team to eventually wear down Morocco.
Prediction: France 3-1 Morocco
- Last World Cup match day record: 2-2
- Last Bundesliga match day record: 4-5
- Overall Bundesliga record: 64-69
- DFL-Supercup record: 1-0
- DFB-Pokal record: 2-0
- Champions League record: 5-1
- World Cup overall record: 37-23
- WWU overall record: 109-93
- Guest predictions: 7-4