Bayern Munich suffered through another disappointing performance — this time against Bayer Leverkusen.
While frustrating on many levels, the Bavarians are not completely floundering just yet. Let’s take a look at some quick hitters on the match:
- Let’s start with this. The opening graphics said it was a back-four, but man, it really looked like a back-three for long periods and I could not tell if that was due to extremely poor positioning by Omar Richards at times or if Bayern Munich was going “hybrid mode” again.
- I was not super-impressed with Richards on the day. I felt as if Benjamin Pavard and Niklas Süle were very good and aside of his brain cramp of a bad pass, Dayot Upamecano was pretty good as well.
- The first half hour was all Bayern Munich. The rest of the game was all...choppy.
- Let’s talk about that brain cramp for a second, though. That kind of mistake...it cannot happen. No player is perfect, but Upamecano has to be better than that and has to get out of his own head to avoid those kinds of gaffes.
- This was not a banner game for the likes of Thomas Müller and Robert Lewandowski.
- Jamal Musiala asserted himself nicely in a central midfield role. The young Germany international absolutely needs more experience and needs to get acclimated playing deeper, but he has potential at the position (even if dolts like me still prefer him as an attacker).
- Süle’s half-volley goal was fantastic. After a few bounces, the big man honed in where the ball was and hammered it into the net.
- The own goal miscue between Müller and Sven Ulreich that led to Bayer Leverkusen’s goal really did not appear to be about a lack of communication, but more the volume of that communication. If anything, that was more on Müller than anyone.
- I like Sven Ulreich as a back-up to Manuel Neuer. He is not perfect, but he knows and understands his role, turns in solid performances, and is a player who Neuer is very comfortable with. That’s good enough for me.
- Florian Wirtz really didn’t do anything impressive. Ditto Jeremie Frimpong.
- Speaking of unimpressive performances, Kingsley Coman wasn’t great either. He wasn’t terrible by any means, but with Müller and Lewandowski struggling to get things going, it would have been great to see Coman step up.
- Müller and Lewandowski need to get back on track as well. Without them operating at optimal levels, the offense does not have enough bite.
- Overall, it was another underachieving effort under Julian Nagelsmann. It becomes harder for the Nagelsmann supporters like myself to defend him after games like this. Was Bayern Munich “off” because of tactics? Or was it because of personnel? Is the manager reaching his squad with his messaging? These are fair questions and while it might be way too early to tell the new boss to beat it, his detractors can chirp a little louder each time the team turns in another uneven performance.
Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland reportedly met with FC Barcelona and this might now be the final push that makes believe Haaland is headed to Spain. It’s not that I doubted it was a possibility, but this is starting to look more and more likely:
Xavi was asked about meeting with Erling Haaland ... pic.twitter.com/BMxWXwVp3F— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) March 5, 2022
Sky captured additional information:
Barcelona have reportedly switched their attention from Kylian Mbappe to Erling Haaland as they believe the PSG star already has a contract with Real Madrid. Mbappe is out of contract this summer having so far refused an extension with his current club PSG.
PSG have however not yet given up on keeping the 23-year-old at the club and last week they reportedly offered him £800,000 per week after tax in a bid to keep him. “It would be very difficult for Florentino to lose Mbappe now. They must have signed something,” a senior Barcelona official is reported to have told GOAL. The report claims that in order to sign Haaland, Barcelona would need to sell players, as well as raise money by selling assets like audiovisual content producer Barca Studios and reduce the overall salary expenditure of the squad.
I still have my crackpot, tinfoil hat theory that Haaland wants to play for Bayern Munich, but with the Bavarians looking increasingly likely to ink Robert Lewandowski to a new deal, Haaland might have to move on.
As Bayern Munich’s squad prepares for a big Bundesliga match against Bayer Leverkusen, the club was extremely active in the papers with a variety of stories involving the squad planning for next season.
Here is what we have on tap for this episode:
- A look at why Bayern Munich needs to step up its communication game with Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Müller, and others to avoid another Niklas Süle fiasco.
- The latest list of candidates to play right wing-back for Julian Nagelsmann next season.
- A few thoughts on why Bayern Munich might not need to spend money on Arminia Bielefeld’s Stefan Ortega.
- The potential for a starting three-man center-back crew of Lucas Hernandez, Dayot Upamecano, and Benjamin Pavard for next season.
Paris Saint-Germain star Lionel Messi is hearing a lot of overtures from MLS — specifically Inter Miami. It still seems crazy that Messi will do a shift in MLS to round out his career, but it could happen...if he is willing to take a lot less money than he is making now:
Superstar Lionel Messi’s contract with Paris St. Germain runs until 2023 - but there is already speculation about his next stop. In addition to a return to his youth club Newell’s Old Boys, a move to the USA is also in the pipeline. With Inter Miami, the first club has now positioned itself.
Co-owner José Mas praised the Argentine in the Miami Herald and sees a good chance of signing. “If he leaves PSG, we would like to see Lionel Messi as a player at Inter Miami,” he said. He continued: “We will try. I’m an optimist at heart. Could I imagine that? It is a possibility.”
Hopes rest primarily on David Beckham, who is the main owner of the MLS team and is said to have a good relationship with Messi. “I’ve always said I want the best player in our team because there’s a certain expectation,” said the ex-footballer meaningfully.
It sure sounds like Timo Werner’s time at Chelsea FC is coming to an end. According to a report from The Sun (as captured by Sky), Werner wants “showdown” talks with Thomas Tuchel:
Timo Werner wants showdown talks with Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel over his future at the club.
Werner’s move to Chelsea only made sense from a financial perspective initially and in the end, the former RB Leipzig man did win a Champions League title. Despite that, Chelsea went out and got Romelu Lukaku to replace Werner anyway — which has been a disaster.
For everyone involved, Werner should bolt.