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“One of the best wingers in Europe” — Julian Nagelsmann on Kingsley Coman’s importance to Bayern Munich

You know it’s all about the stats, ‘bout the stats — no, treble?

FC Bayern München v Sport-Club Freiburg - Bundesliga Photo by Stefan Matzke - sampics/Corbis via Getty Images

Bayern Munich have an abundance of fleet-footed attackers at coach Julian Nagelsmann’s disposal — so many, in fact, that when everyone is healthy and available, selecting the matchday XI must be cause for headache. Even so, every player brings something slightly different to the table, and the versatility that offers is valued. Kingsley Coman was recently singled out by his coach for praise prior to succumbing to an injury that will keep him out of the lineup for a spell.

“In the end it’s all about the stats. He can certainly improve a bit there, but he has already improved — his numbers have improved,” Nagelsmann said (as captured by @iMiaSanMia), noting Coman’s positive developments.

“For me he is one of the best wingers in Europe. When he is fit, he will always help us. He has unbelievable acceleration.”

Coman has been at Bayern Munich for eight seasons now, but it’s in the last year that he has taken perhaps his biggest stride forward in squad status — first inking a contract extension to 2027, then joining the team’s select leadership council. It seems a lifetime ago that Coman’s place in the team looked uncertain after Leroy Sané’s arrival, but it was only the summer transfer window of 2021 that Coman had employed Pini Zahavi in an attempt to scout out other options.

As the 2021/22 season wore on, Coman steadily became more and more relied upon by Julian Nagelsmann — often charged with stretching the defense on his flank, a task which he took with relish and typically with success. During Alphonso Davies’ extended absence due to post-Covid complications, Coman even cheerfully slotted in at left wing-back! While Sané has developed into one of Nagelsmann’s half-space merchants alongside Thomas Müller and Jamal Musiala, Coman is still the team’s best option for 1-on-1 take-ons down the wings.

With Sadio Mané’s arrival and a 4-2-2-2 featuring Mané and Serge Gnabry up top, questions were asked of how Coman would fit in to the new scheme. Would he duplicate Thomas Müller’s role in attacking midfield?

So far, the answer seems to be: Coman will be Coman, whether he’s being asked to thread passes centrally or handle opposition full-backs and provide width. Nagelsmann has a lot of change-ups in his arsenal, and there’s nobody who provides quite what Coman does.

Bayern, too, have had to adjust as teams compact the central spaces more and more and park the bus in front of their own goal, forcing play wide — which is just where Coman is at his most comfortable. For Bayern to maintain its strong start to the year and compete on all three fronts — the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal, and Champions League — they’ll need the best out of everyone.

What do you think? When he returns, will Coman have to turn up the scoring — goals and assists — production in order to help Bayern secure a treble this year, or is hard work and blistering pace its own product?

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