As expected, Bayern Munich dispatched Viktoria Koln by virtue of a 5-0 win in their first round DFB-Pokal matchup thanks to goals from Ryan Gravenberch, Mathys Tel, Sadio Mane, Jamal Musiala, and Leon Goretzka. It very easily could’ve been more for Julian Nagelsmann’s side, but Viktoria keeper Ben Alexander Voll recorded a handful of important saves in either half to prevent the score line from being any more dramatic
Bayern will find out who their opponent will be for the second round of the competition on September 4th, when the draw will be made. That round of matches is currently slated to take place from October 18th-19th.
As Nagelsmann had clearly stated he would do for this first round Pokal matchup, he fielded a heavily rotated starting eleven giving Noussair Mazraoui, Josip Stanisic, Mathys Tel, Ryan Gravenberch and Sven Ulreich their first starts of the season, while it was also only Matthijs de Ligt’s second competitive start. With matches in both the Bundesliga and Champions League approaching thick and fast now, Nagelsmann pretty much had to make the rotations he did and probably could’ve even gotten away with more without jeopardizing the performance level too much.
In particular, Nagelsmann spoke after the match about his admiration for the strength in depth he now has in midfield. They did strengthen in every position with the signings they made during the summer transfer window, but Nagelsmann is genuinely enthused by the competition in midfield with the amount of players he has available to choose from. “Competition is very good and valuable. Ryan’s qualities are best as a #8, as we saw today. The way he moves is very difficult to defend, like Jamal. Leon is very important for us. Sabi is doing very well too. It’s not easy for me to choose,” he said (via @iMiaSanMia on Twitter).
The depth and competition for places is going to be absolutely essential and necessary with the amount of football matches that have to be played before the winter break for the World Cup in Qatar. The Champions League group stages alone are going to be fully played within a span of just nine weeks to accommodate the World Cup break, let alone the Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal matches. It’s quite literally English Weeks from now until the break for the tournament in Qatar, so Nagelsmann knows just how important his depth and rotations will be. “We have a game every 3 days until the World Cup. We’ll have to rotate and we need everyone at a good level. I’m very happy with all 4 players in midfield,” he stressed.
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