On being asked if Nagelsmann could shape an era, Kahn responded very bluntly.
“Yes, absolutely! We always had successful teams in the past. Very special players have shaped an era...” — the likes of Phillip Lahm, Arjen Robben and Ribery, Beckenbauer and Gerd Müller come to mind— “...but always with the coach. A factor for success is continuity.”
Unfortunately, continuity is a factor that has been missing in recent years. Three years of Jupp Heynckes were far too short and Josep Guardiola’s reign seemed unfinished after also staying for just three years. By current standards, though, three years is forever. Since 2016, Bayern has had six coaches. Kahn had that in mind when he signed off on the decision to grant Nagelsmann a five-year contract. Coaching continuity has been missing for far too long.
But that isn’t the only crucial ingredient, as Kahn elaborates. “Continuity in the squad, continuity in the coaching position, even though it’s difficult, and continuity in the leadership. If it all comes together and works properly, then you can be very successful as a club.”
Now the focus turns to how many titles Nagelsmann should win this season with the current blend of continuity. Kahn, as usual, is very straightforward when asked this question.
“That’s the easiest question. At FC Bayern, the answer is always very simple: preferably all three,” Kahn said. “That is the ambition. But we also have another ambition: Of course it’s about titles, but it’s also about the way we play.
“We should have an attractive squad and a team that plays football like we did in many games in the first half of the season. Of course, the title is the reward at the end, but the way we play is also very important. That’s what we’re here for.”
It is impossible to argue against the attractiveness and goal-scoring ability of Nagelsmann’s Bayern. The current record holder for the most goals in a league season is 2011-12’s Real Madrid side with 121 goals in 38 league matches, at rate of 3.18 goals per match. Nagelsmann’s 2022-23 Bayern side has scored 49 goals in 15 league matches, at a rate of 3.27 goals per match. It remains to be seen how well Bayern can keep this up throughout the rest of the season, but this team’s current scoring ability is ludicrously good.
Kahn finished by talking about Bayern’s ambitions in the Champions League. “Of course we always want to win all three titles at Bayern, but I can’t say that we must win the Champions League. That cannot be planned. We’re playing Paris Saint-Germain now, it’s a 50-50 game. Anything can happen.”
Whatever happens in that blockbuster tie, it seems unlikely that Nagelsmann will face the sack. So like him or not, Nagelsmann seems to be with the club for the long haul.