Despite Saturday’s Bundesliga disappointment against Bayer Leverkusen, there are still plenty of reasons to be optimistic about Bayern Munich’s chances to capture domestic and European titles this season.
Some doubters in the Bayern Munich fanbase, however, are not all that sold on how things have shaken out so far. Let’s take a look at some of those views through a “What if?” lens.
What if Julian Nagelsmann’s tactics are not a fit at Bayern Munich?
This is the hot topic among fans as Nagelsmann has hinted that he will be formally shifting to a back-three based formation next season and that the squad will be eyeing transfer targets to help fill out that alignment.
One thing we know is that there will not be any hasty judgement from the Bayern Munich brass toward Nagelsmann and it appears that he will be given the chance to do things “his way” after hedging his bets over the course of this season using a back-four, back-three, and hybrid alignments.
If somehow Bayern Munich only wins a domestic title in 2021/22 and then flames out next season with one trophy (or less), that would probably be the earliest we see the club even ponder a move.
If this does not work out with Nagelsmann, though, the squad changes, personnel commitments, and tactical adjustments could have some lingering effects for years to come.
What if Dayot Upamecano just isn’t that good?
Let’s start by saying this: Upamecano has had a solid — not spectacular — season. The Frenchman has struggled with his consistency, but still has tantalizing potential. There is, however, at least some reason to have a little doubt on if Upamecano can develop into that top-tier defender that Bayern Munich thought it was acquiring.
It is far too early to make a call on this, but a lot hinges on on Upamecano. With Niklas Süle leaving and Lucas Hernandez’s contract expiring in 2024, the future of Bayern Munich backline is in at least some doubt.
What if the aging process catches up to Thomas Müller, Robert Lewandowski, and Manuel Neuer sooner rather than later?
Müller, Lewandowski, and Neuer are all stalwarts for Bayern Munich, but despite the apparent good health of each player, Father Time is a bastard. This is a do-or-die period for renewing these three players.
Extend their deals and there will be risk that performance and/or health begins to slip.
Let them go and there would be fan outrage and the risk that the players might prove the club wrong elsewhere — and find equally impactful replacements.
What if moving Jamal Musiala backfires?
Musiala is one of the most talented young players in the world. While most fans have favored Musiala as an attacker, the club is moving him back to a deeper position. That deeper spot will leave him in competition with Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka for playing time.
If Nagelsmann uses a formation with two attacking midfielders, Musiala would have seemed like a natural fit at one of those positions. Will the move to a deeper role force him to change his game in a way that starts to stifle his attacking skills?
It seems like a risk at this point and not because Musiala will not be successful in a deeper role, but will this new idea will be able to extract the most out of the youngster’s talent?
What if the front office and coaching staff really are not in alignment?
Despite the outward communications, it still feels like the Bayern Munich coaching staff and front office are not fully aligned on squad plans. If Nagelsmann follows though on that plan to shift to a 3-4-2-1, the wing position would be eliminated. So...why is Bayern Munich considering re-upping Serge Gnabry when it already has Leroy Sane and Kingsley Coman potentially pushed inside to attacking midfield roles?
It just seems like — perhaps — there might not be full transparency or collaboration on everything and that there are likely gaps between the front office and players as well.
As previously stated, things are good at Bayern Munich — and a Champions League crown is still well within reach. The future, however, could be affected by some of those “What If?” scenarios above.
Which “What If?” scares you the most for the future of the club? By the way, if you’re curious about what the Nagelsmann naysayers are saying, INNN did a rundown of that on the Leverkusen postgame podcast. Listen to it below or at this link.