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Julian Nagelsmann on Bayern Munich playing without a classic number 9 at striker

Nagelsmann has really only had Robert Lewandowski as a striker and is more used to playing without one.


Despite having three straight draws in the Bundesliga against Borussia Mönchengladbach, Union Berlin and VfB Stuttgart, Bayern Munich has shown no signs of not being able to score goals in the wake of Robert Lewandowski moving to FC Barcelona during the summer transfer window. In the Bundesliga, Bayern has scored a league-high of 19 goals — the only issue for Julian Nagelsmann’s side is that they’re conceding far more goals than they’d like to be and have only kept two clean sheets from their opening six matches in the league.

Defensive issues aside, Nagelsmann is not too concerned with the look of Bayern’s attack this season without a natural number 9 striker. Former RB Leipzig manager Domenico Tedesco recently described Bayern’s new-look attack as trying to dodge arrows from multiple directions at once. Nagelsmann also has emphasized in the past that it is much harder to defend four or five fluidly interchanging players that can run at you and score goals in attack than it would be to zero in on one target man, like Lewandowski.

Of course, in addition to Noussair Mazraoui, Ryan Gravenberch, Sadio Mané and Matthijs de Ligt, Bayern did bring in Mathys Tel (a striker prospect) this summer and he became Bayern’s youngest ever Bundesliga goal scorer with his strike in the 2-2 draw with Stuttgart. Tel was only in the lineup for rotational reasons; Nagelsmann wanted to ensure he would have his best possible eleven available for the FC Barcelona visit on Tuesday. Still, in the long term, he may define Bayern’s future up front.

In his press conference ahead of the Stuttgart match, Nagelsmann also reiterated that there wasn’t a like-for-like replacement for Lewandowski in the transfer market. “There weren’t many strikers on the market that would’ve helped us. I never played with a classic striker in my career before Lewy, and that worked too. If we had found a top #9 we would have thought about it. But we already scored enough goals,” he explained (via @iMiaSanMia).

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