Bayern Munich manager Julian Nagelsmann has one of the best — and hardest — job in all of football.
Powered with a roster chock full of talent, Nagelsmann oversees one of the world’s deepest and best club teams. The problem for Nagelsmann has been picking who to start and how to get the players on the pitch to operate together and fluidly.
With so many changes from game-to-game, it has not been easy. Moreover, floating between formations has not allowed some players to settle into embracing the new role and responsibilities that they might be tasked with.
Of late, Bayern Munich’s exciting attack has not been as fierce, relentless, fluid, or consistent as it looked earlier in the season. The problem is not necessarily Nagelsmann’s tactics (though some fans and players might disagree), but the absence of a comfort level for players in operating together within a particular system and also with each other.
This process will take time. Nagelsmann is still sorting who works best together, where gaps might be in the formations being used, and how to utilize players in a rotation that will keep them happy (hint: this is probably a losing battle) or at least keep them content.
Nagelsmann has his work cut out for him and there will be bumps in the road like we saw over the past three weekends in the Bundesliga — three matches, three draws, and a lot of frustrated fans. The results do not mean that Nagelsmann is a bad coach nor that the roster is totally under-performing, but that this is just not as “soft of a landing” for this roster as it initially looked like it might be. Some kinks will inevitably need to be worked out.
Bundling massive amounts of talent guarantees nothing. Truly great teams have to have a rhythm and a synchronicity that ensure nearly every part is interchangeable — or that, at least, there are comparable replacements in tow. We saw this with the 2019/20 squad. When Benjamin Pavard went down, Joshua Kimmich seamlessly filled in for him, while Leon Goretzka was electric in taking Kimmich’s place next to Thiago Alcantara. If someone in the attack was “off”, Ivan Perisic was there to provide a stable — and dangerous — presence. Philippe Coutinho, while a semi-flop as a starter, provided to be a valuable substitute.
One of the great things that Hansi Flick did during that campaign was to create a flexible squad that rarely missed a beat. Nagelsmann’s challenge is that he has less role players to work with and more players with expectations of being a starter.
Is the squad too big and too talented to be managed properly? Maybe. But like any season at Bayern Munich, the injuries have started to pile up. Kingsley Coman is out, Lucas Hernandez is out, Bouna Sarr is…ah, never mind. Dayot Upamecano is also banged up right now as well.
This is where the job gets a little easier for Nagelsmann. With fewer players to work with, the boss has to do less hurting of feelings and subsequently less ego massaging. It might only last for a short period, but the brief respite might do Nagelsmann some good. If not for playing time, for his own peace of mind.
Bavarian Podcast Works: Weekend Warm-up Podcast — Season 2, Episode 11
Bayern Munich will soon set off for an international break, but there is a ton to talk about. We had some mini-controversies emerge this week, plus a HUGE Champions League win over FC Barcelona as the big happenings, but there was plenty more to discuss as well.
Here is what we have on tap for this episode:
- Checking on on where we think Bayern Munich stands entering the final week of the Bundesliga before the international break.
- Germany’s latest round of call-ups.
- Re-upping Benjamin Pavard and Alexander Nübel might not be easy.
- Why Bayern Munich could really have something in Paul Wanner and Arijon Ibrahimović — and what that could mean moving forward.
- Some Bayern Munich players probably are unhappy, but it’s fine for now.
- House of the Dragon got icky.
Song of the Week: “S.O.B” by Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
This is a relatively newer song (at least as the Song of the Week) as it was released in 2015, but it is one of those tunes that was an absolute craze at the time.
It was EVERYWHERE.
The first time I heard it was on the local al-rock station, which was an odd place to find it...but what is alt-rock if not weird once in a while, right? I still love the energy of the sonf and the video is pretty damn cool as well.
One of the great things about Rateliff is that you can hand him a jersey, throw him a scarf, and he could fit into just about any Bundesliga club’s fanbase. Anyway, here you go:
House of the Dragon
Okay, well things got creepy in the last episode. The famous Targaryen incest problem nearly came home to roost and it was — in general — a very forced and weird episode. Let’s dig in bullet-style:
- First things, first...the homecoming of Daemon and the ultra-quick reconciliation felt rushed and forced. In a way, it was good to see, but clearly something bad was going to happen.
- I did not enjoy the “pleasure house” part of the storyline as it felt extremely...icky.
- Daemon’s exile was, well, deserved. Was his end goal to sully the reputation of Princess Rhaenyra or did he truly want to wed the princess (his niece) — as only the Targaryens can do?
- Rhaenyra and Sir Criston shacking up was not all that shocking.
- King Viserys figuring out Otto Hightower’s long-term scheme was a little late to say the least. I go back to something I thought after the first episode, Is he really that naive? Is he just weak-minded? Or maybe he was just caught at a very vulnerable moment? I have no idea at this point. The actor (Paddy Considine) is doing a terrific job with the character, but the writing for that character is not great,
- The upcoming union between the Targaryen and Velaryons could involve some more incest...near incest? I have no idea how to classify it. Rhaenys Targaryen-Velaryon is King Viserys’ cousin.
- Overall, I felt like the show lost some steam due to predictability and weirdness this week. We’ll see how things progress as we prep for another time hop.
I’m a slacker...I could not start it yet.
I’ll hand it over to Zippy for Rings of Power.
Rings of Power
Rings of Power releases on Thursdays, so these write-ups will always be one week behind.
Episode 3 of Rings of Power was a downer for me — the writing and dialogue were tedious and some of the choices worrisome. However, there are new intrigues raised and I had some fun imagining where the story might be going. Spoilers below:
- A thoughtful review asks: are the hobbits/harfoots meant to be so cruel, ableist, and dystopian a society that they simply leave their helpless behind? Dark metaphor for the modern world maybe, or it’s just not that subtle.
- Is the Stranger a future Balrog? He had another episode with fire and it would be in keeping with Galadriel’s warning at the start of the series: “things do not start out evil.”
- Why/how did the other elves of Arondir’s watch get captured?
- The warg was ... cute? I like how they did it. As if, in a different life, without its orc masters, it could have been a docile friend.
- Is Halbrand Sauron? Halbrand ends the episode a captive on Númenor (as Sauron was in lore, but openly as himself), and has a peculiar interest in smithing (Sauron being servant of the Smith Vala Aulë). Sauron corrupts the Númenoreans while in captivity. On the show, they are already turned on the elves, but haven’t been persuaded to worship Morgoth and attack Valinor — yet. So there is work to be done.
- If Halbrand is not Sauron, he’s an annoyance — and one who is undercutting Galadriel’s moment as a protagonist. She is out here saving the world and coming into her own, not a lady in want of a lovable rogue to guide to his noble destiny.
- Finally: we have Elendil and Isildur introductions, which feels to me like one too many an origin story, this one on too well-trodden ground.
- We were robbed of Bronwyn this week. What became of her and her son, and that curiously evil-looking blade he had found?
Whew! That was a lot. Let me know if you’ve stuck around through all that, and what you think of the Rings of Power so far.
Bavarian Podcast Works Preview Show — Augsburg vs. Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich is coming off of a huge performance against Barcelona; in a game of two halves, they looked very nervous in the first half and quite assured in the next. Now, ahead of the international break, Bayern must produce a much-needed Bundesliga win against local rivals FC Augsburg. In this podcast we talk about:
- Augsburg’s run in the Bundesliga so far
- An in-depth look at Augsburg’s last performance against Werder Bremen
- Changes that have taken place in terms of personnel at the club
- How Augsburg might set up against Bayern
- What Bayern’s personnel shortage means for the defense
- Who will Julian Nagelsmann play next to Joshua Kimmich?
- Who will occupy the front four slots?
It can’t happen again, can it? Bayern Munich has to be able to get three points against FC Augsburg, right?
A match against the 13th place team should be the type of game that gets Bayern Munich back on the winning track in the Bundesliga after three consecutive draws. While this game is not a trap in a traditional sense, some of the Bayern Munich players will be headed off to their international commitments after the match. Could they be distracted? I hope not and I’ll go (again) with the Bavarians picking up three points this week.
Prediction: FC Augsburg 0-3 Bayern Munich
Other Bundesliga predictions include:
- Mainz 05 1-1 Hertha Berlin
- Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 Werder Bremen
- Borussia Dortmund 3-1 Schalke 04
- VfB Stuttgart 1-2 Eintracht Frankfurt
- Union Berlin 1-2 Wolfsburg
- VfL Bochum 0-1 FC Köln
- Hoffenheim 1-2 SC Freiburg
- RB Leipzig 3-2 Borussia Mönchengladbach
RuneKingThor: Bayern will have multiple goal scorers and perhaps a brace by one of them. Bayern needed some extra luck after a series of painstaking draws, they got that luck with Barca and that momentum should be able to let the champions create fruitful chances and finish them. A decent follow-up game for us after the UCL victory albeit not without flaws. Prediction: FC Augsburg 1-4 Bayern Munich
R.I.P. London Teams: I know that we aren’t scoring as much as we did at the start of the season, but we have enough firepower to beat Augsburg. The only way they’ll stand a chance is if Gikiewicz turns into prime Yann Sommer. Prediction: FC Augsburg 0-3 Bayern Munich
F last week...(again)
- Last week’s overall record: 3-7
- Overall Bundesliga record: 23-31
- DFL-Supercup record: 1-0
- DFB-Pokal record: 1-0
- Champions League record: 2-0
- WWU overall record: 27-31
- Guest predictions: 7-2