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Weekend Warm-up: Is Bayern Munich better without Robert Lewandowski this season?; The Marcel Sabitzer redemption arc has been fun; Thoughts on Better Call Saul and We Own This City; Throwing it back to System of a Down; Bundesliga predictions; + MORE!

#YachtClubKovac is back in the house as Wolfsburg visits Bayern Munich.

1. FC Köln v FC Bayern München - Bundesliga Photo by Markus Gilliar/Getty Images

Bayern Munich’s first two “real” games without Robert Lewandowski are in the books and the results have been...staggering.

After losing the most productive player on Earth, Bayern Munich has exploded for 11 goals in two games and looks dominant — even after losing the best striker in the world.

It really has been astounding to watch unfold.

I spent last week’s space here defending Lewandowski — to a point — in trying to explain why he was not as big of a jerk as some of the recent news made him out to be. Almost in sync, the Pole spent this week trying to lay that out for himself through multiple interviews and statements.

For as much as he was misunderstood at times, the man was almost never anything short of great. Over the course of a season, there will be a time that Lewandowski’s consistently excellent performances will be missed — let’s just hope it is not in April and May.

Can the current group of attackers replace Lewandowski’s production in a “by committee” arrangement?

It is possible.

Nagelsmann has no shortage of attacking talent available and does not have to worry about catering to Lewandowski’s sometimes sensitive ego. Operating as a collective, Bayern Munich has looked unstoppable so far...can the squad maintain great, consistent production even without one player being designated as “the man?”

In my opinion, it is too early to think there won’t be a point where Lewandowski’s presence will be missed. In fact, that could ultimately become the theme for the season come spring time, but for now, Nagelsmann has his boys playing about as well as anyone could have hoped offensively.

For that, kudos should go all around inside the walls of Säbener Straße.

Poll

Will Bayern Munich’s 2022/23 attack ultimately be better than last season?

This poll is closed

  • 57%
    Yes — There are so many good players that they can share the burden of replacing Robert Lewandowski.
    (421 votes)
  • 3%
    No — You still need one focal point in the offense.
    (27 votes)
  • 38%
    It is too early to tell — This is all so experimental, we need to see more.
    (278 votes)
726 votes total Vote Now

Song of the Week: “Toxicity” by System of a Down

I am reaching back to 2001 (September 4th specifically...jeeze, talk about timing) to the release of this song from System of a Down, which was absolutely one of the most unique sounding bands of that time period.

“Toxicity” is a hard, frantic, almost manic song that can captures your ear immediately. To the band’s hardcore fans they are definitely not forgotten, but to the mainstream, they are absolutely overlooked. If you want a different, but awesome, kind of sound, here you go:


Sabitzer is back...with a vengeance

There was a certifiable buzz last season when Bayern Munich surprisingly acquired Marcel Sabitzer from RB Leipzig.

Able to play in the central midfield or even as a makeshift winger, Sabitzer looked like he was capable of being the “bridge” piece to hold things together should the club suffer injuries at either of those positions.

That plan did not work out, though. Sabitzer never got comfortable, struggled with being a back-up, was crammed into playing left-back several times, and never looked like himself.

Thankfully, the Austrian star shook himself out of that malaise (perhaps partially by being listed as a player the club wanted to unload) and has been excellent so far this season. Joshua Kimmich, who is never an easy man to please, even lauded Sabitzer’s effort and how the Austrian allows Kimmich to expand his own game.

As of now, this is becoming a hell of a redemption story…let’s hope it stays that way.


Bavarian Podcast Works: Weekend Warm-up Podcast Season 2, Episode 6

Bayern Munich is rolling, Julian Nagelsmann is pushing all of the right buttons, and everything seems to be heading in the right direction for the Rekordmeister.

Right about now is where you might be expecting some kind of pessimistic take on why the wheels are about to fall off, but — alas — things are too good for any doubt to start seeping into the podcast.

Like every week, the boys from Bayern Munich are not boring, so there was a lot to talk about. Here is what we have on tap:

  • The return of Niko Kovač and why his time at Bayern Munich was sabotaged from the get-go.
  • Robert Lewandowski’s new club can’t get it together off the pitch.
  • Kingsley Coman’s return might complicate things for Nagelsmann.
  • Tanguy Nianzou’s touchy situation.
  • Joshua Zirkzee’s transfer saga could be nearing an end.
  • Some thoughts on Better Call Saul’s insane penultimate episode.


Entertainment Rundown

Better Call Saul

It is hard to believe that we just witnessed the penultimate episode of the series, but here we are — and what an episode it was. For what amounted to years, Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) aka Saul Goodman aka Gene Takovic was able to suppress his inner-Slippin’ Jimmy conman persona and live a dull life as the low key manager of a Cinnabon in Omaha, Nebraska.

Not any more.

(Spoilers ahead)

Gene Takovic was finally outed as fugitive Saul Goodman and now we have one episode to see if ol’ Saul has one more escape act up his sleeve. After being unable to contain his need for “action”, some greed and some sloppiness ultimately led to Takovic being revealed to be Saul Goodman — by Jeffy (Pat Healy)’s Mom (Carol Burnett).

The kicker on how Takovic was outed, however, resulted in one of the most incredible scenes of Gene’s world (which is always in black and white to the viewer):

So, now it is on. Saul Goodman is on the run from the law once again. How will it play out? Will he survive? Does he have one more “get out of jail free” card to play? I cannot wait to find out.

Some other highlights from the episode:

  • The scene with Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) was a really fun Easter Egg for hardcore fans of the Breaking Bad universe.
  • Seeing Wexler’s current state, what she has been up to, where she works, and what her life is like was also fascinating. Her move to go back and tell the truth about Howard Hamlin (Patrick Fabian)’s death was also totally shocking and added even more drama to the show.
  • There are so many great things about the Breaking Bad universe, but Saul Goodman potentially being brought down by an elderly woman using the “Life Alert” system — after Saul’s foray into Elder Law — was just a tremendous way for the story to come full circle.
  • Overall, it was a tremendous episode and I’ll be shocked if Seehorn and Odenkirk do not get serious award consideration.

We Own This City

Okay, so I bit the bullet and started this HBO miniseries (based on true events)...and it is awesome (so far). I have been on a bit of an anti-HBO kick of late because I feel like the quality of their shows has dropped off a cliff, but WOTC is an exception to that rule.

Jon Bernthal (Walking Dead, The Punisher) stars as a cop (among many) that have lost their way in Baltimore. If you are a huge fan of The Wire (like myself), the show captured the genuine Baltimore look and feel like you would expect. It is also the first HBO show (produced by that core group of writers and producers) to re-capture the magic of The Wire after failed attempts (at least to me) with Treme and The Deuce.

I am psyched to see how it all plays out on screen, but it was been extremely captivating so far.

By the way, if you have never seen Bernthal’s version of The Punisher, you should absolutely check it out.


Bavarian Podcast Works Preview Show: Bayern Munich vs. Wolfsburg

Bayern Munich will take on a familiar foe in Niko Kovac’s Wolfsburg in their upcoming Bundesliga game. Without further ado, we discuss some of the following points:

  • What are some transfers Wolfsburg made?
  • What has Wolfsburg looked like so far?
  • Can Wolfsburg beat Bayern? Will Wolfsburg beat Bayern?
  • What are some potential changes Julian Nagelsmann might make?
  • Will Nagelsmann’s Bayern eventually get found out?
  • What are some other Bundesliga fixtures this weekend?
  • A look back at some of last weekend’s fixtures
  • A look ahead to some of this weekend’s fixtures including Schalke vs. Borussia Mönchengladbach


Predictions

Bayern Munich will square off with old friend Niko Kovač and his new squad, Wolfsburg. On paper, this should be a romping win in favor of Bayern Munich against what should be an overmatched team of Wolves.

However, I do not think Kovač has any interest in being embarrassed at his old stomping grounds. In fact, I think he will do everything to prevent that from happening. I think Wolfsburg will pack it in, park the bus, and muck things up for Bayern Munich. Moreover, I think the Wolves will eagerly looking to activate the “scumbag gene” and clutch, pull, and grab Bayern Munich at every opportunity.

In the end, Bayern Munich is still just too good at this stage of the season for Wolfsburg, but this one might not be as easy as it really should be.

Prediction: Bayern Munich 3-1 Wolfsburg

Guest predictions

RIPLT: I’m going for 4-0 because with our current form, it is totally doable and Wolfsburg will have a hard time containing us. I also went for a clean sheet because it can definitely be achieved and the goal Frankfurt scored was from a massive error from Neuer. I’m backing him to learn his lesson and shut out the Wolves. Prediction — Bayern Munich 4-0 Wolfsburg.

Schnitzel: Bayern is on a roll, and the players seem to be functioning really well as a unit. The same can’t be said of Wolfsburg… defensive problems from last season continue to linger, but given that their attack is super capable of scoring (even more now with the addition of Wimmer), I’m not sure Bayern keep a clean sheet. Prediction — Bayern Munich 3-1 Wolfsburg.

Swaz: I think Bayern are in excellent shape and the rigorous training will help us get a clean sheet. Wolfsburg will probably be more prepared for us than Frankfurt were, having had the time to analyse our style of playing. But still we can look forward for many goals. Prediction — Bayern Munich 4-0 Wolfsburg.

Other Bundesliga predictions include:

  • SC Freiburg 2-1 Borussia Dortmund
  • Bayer Leverkusen 3-2 FC Augsburg
  • Hertha Berlin 1-2 Eintracht Frankfurt
  • Hoffenheim 2-1 VfL Bochum
  • RB Leipzig 4-1 FC Köln
  • Werder Bremen 1-2 VfB Stuttgart
  • Schalke 04 1- 3 Borussia Mönchengladbach
  • Mainz 05 1-2 Union Berlin

Prediction Records

Not a great first week...not terrible, though, either.

Bundesliga record: 5-4

DFL-Supercup record: 1-0

DFB-Pokal record: 0-0

Champions League record: 0-0

WWU overall record: 6-4

Guest predictions: 0-0

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