So much a quiet winter break, eh?
Bayern Munich went into the World Cup with a world class goalkeeper and some incredible depth at center-back.
Now, though, those are two of several questions looming over the team as the Rückrunde beckons give the season-ending injuries sustained by Manuel Neuer and Lucas Hernandez. Let’s dive into those most pertinent topics and give a level of confidence on a 1-10 scale about each one.
1. Who’s up next at goalkeeper?
Alexander Nubel has pretty much recused himself from the competition in favor of staying at AS Monaco. Sven Ulreich is the current starter and while I’d be confident in #SvenTheWall, the club reportedly has its reservations.
Yann Sommer seems to be the choice selection, but his attainability is uncertain at this stage.
Heat check: 6.5 — Ulreich can keep the team competitive, but Sommer can be the player who can elevate the squad into being a Champions League contender. Can Bayern Munich get a deal done for Sommer or will the club rally around Ulreich? If not those two players, then who? It’s hard to be super confident right now, but there are good options on the table.
2. Can a center-back tandem of Dayot Upamecano and Matthijs de Ligt stop PSG?
On paper, you would say, “Yes!”, but paper isn’t worth anything. De Ligt has battled consistency and has been prone to making poor decisions, while Upamecano, despite his awesome showing so far this season, still can make major mistakes. PSG is a massive test for this duo.
Heat Check: 6 — Yikes, right? I like both players and their respective talent, but PSG’s trio of Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi, and Neymar might be too much to handle this season. De Ligt and Upamecano will have to be in sync and avoid those brain cramps that have haunted both players in the past.
3. Can Thomas Müller rebound?
There is a fine line between slumping and being cooked. Right now, the Bayern Munich coaching staff is concerned enough about Müller to — allegedly — change his position.
Heat Check: 5 — This one is tough. I don’t believe Müller is “done” yet, but I also am very unsure if he can thrive as a striker (or really even win the starting job). Julian Nagelsmann seems set to make Jamal Musiala the starting No. 10 (perhaps using him as a No. 9 on a temporary basis might be better?), which could ultimately result in Müller becoming a bench player. I don’t doubt Müller, but this situation might be out of his hands.
4. Will Nagelsmann ever settle on an attacking unit?
Julian Nagelsmann is reportedly going to use a 4-2-3-1 in the second half of the season, but will have the tough task of picking a quartet of attackers to start in each game. The manager is going to have to massage a lot of ego, while finding the combinations that work the best. It will not be easy.
Heat Check: 4 — This one, I have serious doubts about. I do think Bayern Munich needs to settle into a rhythm offensively, but what will the attack look like? With all of the talent available, will Nagelsmann be able to ride an attacking foursome or will it continually shift. If it is different from game-to-game, will the parts be interchangeable? With Müller, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (barring a transfer to Manchester United), Leroy Sané, Sadio Mané, Kingsley Coman, Serge Gnabry, Jamal Musiala, Mathys Tel, and Ryan Gravenberch all competing for time in the squad’s front four, things are going to be difficult for Nagelsmann. I have a hard time believing, even with inevitable injuries that will occur, that Nagelsmann can keep the roster happy and that the parts will be interchangeable like he might like. The manager will have to make some incredibly difficult decisions.
5. Can Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka boss the midfield and give fans hope against PSG and in the Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal competitions?
Leon Goretzka was banged up for a portion of the Hinrunde and Marcel Sabitzer filled in admirably. Now, Bayern Munich will have its top-choice duo back from the outset and the tandem of Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich should be poised to have a standout second half.
Heat Check: 10 — It’s not all negative as I’m fully expecting Kimmich to shake off his post-World Cup malaise and Goretzka to become that force working box-to-box that fans have become accustomed to. The duo will be an extremely important factor in whether or not Bayern Munich can win the trophies it wants to in the second half of the season. With Marcel Sabitzer playing well and operating as a very good option to rotate with Kimmich and Goretzka, the central midfield should be a strength for Nagelsmann moving forward.
Bavarian Podcast Works — Weekend Warm-up Podcast: Season 2, Episode 25
It has been a wild holiday week at BFW.
There is a ton of Bayern Munich news going on and we have just the platform for you to talk about it all.
One way to get your thoughts in motion is to give our Weekend Warm-up Podcast a listen. On this episode we discuss the following topics:
- Alexander Nübel’s hardline decision to spurn an offer to return from his loan at AS Monaco to Bayern Munich.
- Bayern Munich’s eagerness to lock up Lucas Hernandez, Alphonso Davies, and Jamal Musiala to long-term deals.
- Bayern Munich’s ongoing interest in Bayer Leverkusen ace Florian Wirtz and what it might eventually mean for the future of the roster.
- Is Leroy Sané pondering a move away from Bayern Munich? If so, do you believe that Real Madrid rumor?
- Matthijs de Ligt needs to be better in the second half of the season and why Bayern Munich’s season might depend on it.
- Some brief thoughts on Andor.
Song of the Week: “Edging” by Blink-182
Blink-182 is back together and issues “Edging” is the group’s latest release. To me, this feels like some vintage Blink-182. I still think “Dude Ranch” is one of the great alt-rock/pop punk/punk albums of all time, but for a while some (definitely not all) of Blink’s releases seemed to lack something that “Dude Ranch” had. Whether it was an attitude or an edge, it’s tough to define, but “Edging” definitely captures some of that.
The sound for this song is a bit of a throwback and I am hoping their new album has more of this to come:
It’s tough to dispute Blink-182’s place among the all-time greats for their genre.
I am still iPad-less, but did rip through Disney+’s Andor and have some thoughts:
- It was a very curious decision for Disney to take a somewhat random character and devote an origin story series to him. Of course, we know that Cassian Andor plays a key part in Rogue One (still the absolute best of the modern Star Wars movies), but I had a hard time — initially — diving into it because I didn’t care much about the character.
- There were two primary plot points to the series that struck me. First, the showrunners wanted to continue to show the growing discontent in the universe toward the Empire. Secondly, the series — whether intentional or not — wanted to tell the tale for how the Rebellion had enough cash to pay for all of its uniforms, weapons, and warcrafts. It is an amazingly overlooked point that was not really addressed in the movies prior to this (think about the Death Star discussion from Clerks).
- It sounds like a plot line that might not have needed to be told, but I did find that absolutely interesting to find out some of the ways that the Rebellion was financed (I know, what a nerd!). In some ways, it reminded me of season two of The Wire (my favorite season), which was where we started to learn the inner-workings of the Baltimore drug trade, where the drugs were coming from, who the suppliers were, how they were transported, etc. While season two of The Wire doesn’t get the acclaim of seasons one, three, or four, it was an absolutely vital behind the scenes account of how the enterprise worked. Oddly, that is how I viewed Andor and what the most important themes were.
- Anyway, the acting was typical Star Wars quality (some good, some bad). Stellan Skarsgård stole the show as Luthen Rael, Diego Luna was solid in the lead role, while Genevieve O’Reilly as Mon Mothma and Denise Gough as Dedra Meero were also very good. Andy Serkis was extremely solid as well as lead prisoner Kino Loy.
- As always in this type of series, you already knew the final result and where everything ultimately ends for some of these characters. There were several lulls in Andor where I thought Disney was stretching things out unnecessarily, but overall, I found the series to be entertaining and worthwhile. I won’t be dying to see the next season, but I’m interested in the rest of the story and definitely want to see more. It’s not quite as good as The Mandalorian, but it was solid enough for me to feel okay with the time I spent watching it.
If you watched, let me know what you thought. It seems like most people were fans of the show.
I have eschewed watching a lot of actual movies, but I did also finally make some time to watch Nobody starring Bob Odenkirk — and it was totally worth it.
This flick probably was never going to be the type to rake in awards, but it was a thrill-ride for 92 minutes. If you like a like a lot of action, fighting, and chase scenes, this is for you.
The story revolves around a semi-retired black ops “auditor”, whose job involved eliminating people (instead of unnecessary expenses), who just was trying to lead a normal boring life — until he wakes up to find his house getting robbed. While he didn’t make use of his special talents during the robbery, he does get sparked to do so once he finds out his daughter’s “Kitty Cat Bracelet” is missing.
That sets him completely over the edge and unleashes a wild chain of events.
I had a blast watching it and really enjoyed every second. If you are looking for fun that will not occupy your entire night, this is a good film to check out, especially because there is a sequel on the way.
- Overall Bundesliga record: 64-69
- DFL-Supercup record: 1-0
- DFB-Pokal record: 2-0
- Champions League record: 5-1
- World Cup overall record: 38-25
- WWU overall record: 110-95
- Guest predictions: 7-5