It’s hard not to be excited for this season as a Bayern Munich fan after the club’s opening two competitive wins against RB Leipzig (DFL-Supercup) and Eintracht Frankfurt (Bundesliga). Having scored 11 goals from the pair of matches, concerns of what Bayern’s attack would look like without Robert Lewandowski have been eased and there doesn’t look to be any shortage of goals in what’s look to be a very fluid front line led by Sadio Mane.
It’s still only early days, but even honorary club president Uli Hoeneß recently expressed his excitement for how things have gone thus far in an appearance on Sky (via Az). “The way the team has played in the two important games so far made my heart laugh. It was pure entertainment, it was really fun,” he said. It’s worth mentioning that Bayern could’ve scored more than five against Leipzig and more than six against Frankfurt, respectively. While they did wind up conceding a total of four goals from those two matches, the creativity, fluidity, and pace of the attack is really quite something to get fired up about.
In his maiden season in charge of the club, Julian Nagelsmann experienced his fair share of setbacks, especially due to the amount of injury problems and COVID cases he had to deal with a various stages of the season. After a bright start to the Hinrunde, Bayern simply wasn’t playing their proper brand of football, and pressure mounted following their early exit from the DFB-Pokal at the hands of Borussia Monchengladbach in what was one of the shock results of the competition last season. Their exit from the Champions League quarter-finals to Villarreal and their stumbling over the finish line after securing the Bundesliga title saw that Nagelsmann only just met the minimum expectation of silverware and was certainly going to have his work cut out for him this season.
Fast forward to now, and even at such an early stage of the season, Hoeneß said that he can already recognize a massive uptick in the way the side has been performing that’s full of passion. “You could tell that a lot of things worked with the team, not to say almost everything. You can tell that they enjoy their game. They’ve improved again and again,” he noted. This wasn’t always on display last season and there were too many occasions where Bayern underperformed, particularly in their exits from both the domestic and European cup competitions. They were also largely aided by poor spells from their direct Bundesliga rivals in being able to secure yet another Meisterschale with a few match weeks to spare.
As always, though, the season is a marathon, and not a sprint. With that in mind, Hoeneß warned that it is up to Nagelsmann to get his players to maintain the enthusiasm and performance level throughout the entire course of the season. “Of course, if we play like we did in the last two games, it will be difficult for the competition. But we shouldn’t think now about how we played this season’s games, but we have to see that we can maintain this enthusiasm, this passion,” he stressed.
With some of the additions Bayern has made during this summer’s transfer window, there is now added depth in multiple positions. It’s a managers job to make the right personnel decisions for any given match, but it is a difficult task to find the right balance and keep the majority of players happy, even if they’re not playing as much as they would want to be. Noussair Mazraoui, Ryan Gravenberch, Sadio Mane, Matthijs de Ligt and Mathys Tel have added depth to the defense, midfield, and attack, but it’s clear that they all won’t be playing all the time. Rotations will be necessary over the course of the season, especially when the English Week’s start coming.
It is during the more congested periods of the season that Hoeneß feels will work to Nagelsmann’s benefit in keeping his players happy. More matches in a closer period of time will force him to make changes out of necessity to protect against injuries and fatigue. “It will be the main task for Julian that he keeps this huge, great squad happy. That he manages to keep spirits high, which won’t always be easy. But if we now have the three-game weeks, then it will be easier. If you always had a week in between, it would be difficult,” he rationalized.