Despite clinching a tenth straight Bundesliga title, many fans would argue that this wasn’t a great season for Bayern Munich. The exits from both the DFB-Pokal and Champions League, mostly because of the nature in with Bayern was knocked out of both, were disappointing to say the least, overriding the joy of being able to lift the Meisterschale.
There was always going to be a sort of transition with a new manager in Julian Nagelsmann coming in from RB Leipzig, but after such a promising hinrunde, things really seemed to unravel in the ruckrunde. Granted, Nagelsmann was not at all aided by the coronavirus outbreak at the club at the start of the ruckrunde as well as the club being hampered injuries at the time, but even when most of the squad was back fit, they had bad slip-ups.
In a recent interview with Sport1, sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic even struggled to pinpoint just what, exactly, was responsible for Bayern’s dip in form towards the beginning of the ruckrunde. “That’s a good question,” he said when he was asked why Bayern faltered when they did. “We were very good in the first half of the season, came back from vacation and then had to cope with a few losses. We had a bad mood, the atmosphere wasn’t good and we didn’t really get into the pace. We didn’t manage to flip the switch and that stayed with us in the second half of the season,” he continued.
In the Champions League, there were no excuses for not getting past Villarreal. Unai Emery’s side were the better team over the course of the two legs despite Bayern’s dominance in the second leg at the Allianz Arena. Bayern didn’t do enough to get through on aggregate. Brazzo, consistent with the overall mood at the club going into the tie, was surprised they didn’t have what it took to get past the La Liga outfit. “When we got everyone back on board I was confident that we could do it against Villarreal but didn’t manage to put in a top performance – especially in the first leg. Of course that hurts. That wasn’t what we wanted, that wasn’t good. But we’re hungry and that’s what sets this team apart. I spoke to the coach a lot and we love these guys. You have to learn to love them and we did,” he explained.
As the summer transfer window quickly approaches, there has been a lot of noise as to what Bayern’s squad will look like in the near future. Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka, Kingsley Coman, and Thomas Muller have all signed contract extensions, while Manuel Neuer is soon expected to follow suit. Robert Lewandowski, Serge Gnabry, and even Coretin Tolisso all have uncertain futures at the club but Bayern is bringing in both Ryan Gravenberch and Noussair Mazraoui from AFC Ajax.
Looking forward, Brazzo said he knows there are areas for improvement, which will be much needed with next season’s bizarre schedule due to the 2022 World Cup taking place in the winter in Qatar. “We have a very good core in the team, but we have to see how we can strengthen the squad across the board. You shouldn’t forget that next season we’ll be playing very often in a three-day rhythm because of the World Cup. That’s going to be very challenging. We have very high expectations of ourselves, but we have to see to what extent we can implement them,” he stressed.
The Bundesliga has a collective tendency to not be able to attract the same kind of stars as the top clubs in both the Premier League and La Liga. The finances of said leagues, coped with a lack of reluctance to debt spend, only continue to metastasize the financial gaps that keep growing between the Bundesliga and Europe’s other top leagues that have more lucrative funds. Because of this, as Brazzo alluded to, the Bundesliga has to work twice as hard to attract the big names. “It’s a good question how to make it more attractive. We have to work on keeping attractive names in the league and that doesn’t just apply to Bayern. But we know that it is not easy in these times,” Brazzo explained.