With the way Bayern Munich performed in their first two competitive wins of the season over RB Leipzig and Eintracht Frankfurt, there really aren’t any arguments to be made as far as Julian Nagelsmann’s squad selections. For both of those wins, he fielded the exact same starting eleven, comprised of Manuel Neuer, Alphonso Davies, Lucas Hernandez, Dayot Upamecano, Benjamin Pavard, Marcel Sabitzer, Joshua Kimmich, Thomas Muller, Serge Gnabry, Jamal Musiala and Sadio Mane. He also made very similar substitutions in the second half of both matches, bar not being able to use Kinglsey Coman in Frankfurt due to his red card suspension.
Tactically, Nagelsmann got both matches spot on aside from the brief period in the DFL-Supercup when Leipzig started to mount a comeback. Concerns of life without Robert Lewandowski have been quieted scoring 11 goals from two matches. Nagelsmann has clearly got his personnel decisions right. It’s a hard job to keep the right balance and harmony amongst such a star-studded squad, but per SportBild (via @iMiaSanMia), Nagelsmann and his staff utilize a point system in their training sessions to help them with the difficult personnel decisions.
Specifically, players in the squad earn points based off of their performances in Bayern’s training sessions at Sabener Strasse, though it is not specified what, exactly, earns players points or if there are certain things that are of a higher point value than others. Regardless, Nagelsmann and his coaching assistants then use this points system to make personnel decisions when they are unsure of a small selection of players and who they should potentially start for any given match.
This is particularly interesting given the amount of reinforcements Bayern has brought in this summer in various positions. Nobody’s place in the squad is guaranteed and there’s added incentive for the players that have been with the team for more than a season to push themselves to keep earning their spots in the starting lineups. In the first two matches, for example, both Upamecano and Pavard have looked stronger than they did most of last season and both could perhaps feel threatened by the arrivals of Noussair Mazraoui and Matthijs de Ligt.
Likewise, in attack, there’s now added depth with both Mane and Mathys Tel. Nagelsmann has a plethora of midfielders and attackers at his disposal between Mane, Tel, Muller, Gnabry, Coman, Leroy Sane, Musiala, Kimmich, Sabitzer, Ryan Gravenberch, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and even Leon Goretzka once he returns from his knee injury.
Exactly how this evaluation system impacts decisions is a mystery, but so far it looks like the squad is sharp and responding well to this approach.