Bayern Munich is coming off of this international break still nursing a few injuries, but more importantly, is looking to repair its team psyche.
Whether it’s tactics, form, effort, or anything else, the squad has not been great in the Bundesliga over the past month.
Julian Nagelsmann can see it...the players are trying to work through it...the club executives can witness it...and fans can feel that something has just not been right lately.
Of course, it is far too early for anyone to be overly concerned with the situation just yet, but there have been enough issues to at least set up a few red flags for observers. Let’s take a quick look at the biggest issues holding the team back:
What is best for this roster? The 4-2-2-2? A 4-2-3-1? A 3-4-2-1? Something else? This question has not yet been answered and many are getting restless — including the players, who recently complained about the team’s tactics per reports.
At some point, Nagelsmann has to sort out what will work best for talent on this roster and settle into a formation and style of play. A notorious tinkerer, it could take a while for that to happen. Do the players have enough patience to wait out the coach on this?
For all of his talent, Nagelsmann has not figured out his rotation just yet. How to keep the players healthy and happy remains one of the biggest concerns for this season and the head coach has not yet cracked the code on how to make it all work best. A big roster is terrific for depth, but can be troublesome for maintaining harmony within the locker room. Can Nagelsmann find a way to juggle the egos and playing time, while weighing which players are actually performing best? That remains a big question moving forward.
Not all of the problems reside with the coach, though. Simply put, the players have not been good enough.
Finishing has been wretched, passing has not been consistently where it needs to be, and the propensity to start out a little flat has weighed down this team. At some point, a roster full of stars has to start playing like, well, stars.
Too often this season, players have turned in subpar performances and dismissed any potential issues in the postgame media gatherings. For this team to reach its potential, the players are going to need to be much better than they have been so far.
After a torrid start, something has been “off.” Are the players not comfortable enough playing together given how many different combinations have been used? Are there communication issues on the pitch? Are the differing styles of each play simply not meshing well enough?
The answer to all of those questions is likely “Yes.”
Training sessions and off-the-field events can only do so much to enhance team chemistry. Eventually, teams have to build that cohesion in game situations. To most, there is not a question of if this can happen, but when?
For everyone watching, the sooner, the better.
Weekend Warm-up Podcast: Season 2, Episode 13
Between Germany and Bayern Munich, there is no shortage of discussion points for fans to talk about and debate.
For those looking forward to the World Cup, we got a sneak peek on what things could look like for Germany in Qatar. For Bayern Munich fans, it is time to re-boot and start over after a tough run in the Bundesliga.
Let’s take a gander at what we have on tap for this episode:
- A look at Germany’s international break and what we might have learned ahead of the World Cup.
- What to look for in Bayern Munich’s games.
- Jamal Musiala’s star is beginning to explode.
- Bayern Munich might already be planning for life after Benjamin Pavard.
- Is Bayern Munich interested in Chelsea FC’s Kai Havertz?
Song of the Week: “Wicked Garden” by Stone Temple Pilots
Released in September of 1992, I did not get wind of Stone Temple Pilots’ release of the album “Core” until the spring of 1993. While “Plush” and “Creep” got most of the airplay from the album, “Wicked Garden” was really one of the of the great songs from the CD.
In fact, you could argue this particular release from Stone Temple Pilots was among the best albums — top to bottom — of the early 90s grunge/alt rock era.
Stone Temple Pilots was similar to Alice in Chains in that their sound resonated across grunge, alt rock, hard rock, and heavy metal, so you could tune into any one of a number of radio stations and find an STP song.
Of course, there is a long, winding history of the band and “Core” was absolutely the best of their albums (though several of them were very good), but “Wicked Garden” was always under appreciated (at least to me)...enjoy:
House of the Dragon
What an episode, eh? Okay...let’s dive in:
- We had a 10-year time hop and predictably, things were absolutely freaking crazy…like everything was 10x more insane than where we left off.
- I didn’t think the actors that took over were bad, but it was a bit tough because the mannerisms, facial expressions, and style in speaking were vastly different in some cases.
- I was right about the children of Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and Laenor Velaryon were not theirs, but those of Princess Rhaenyra and Ser Harwin Strong — son of the Hand of the King, who we barely got introduced to (the Game of Thrones way!).
- Interestingly, Lord Lyonel Strong rejected the notion that he would propose his son to wed Princess Rhaenyra in a previous episode, but now the union is happening (one way or the others)
- The politically-charged and quite intentional beating Ser Criston Cole took from Ser Harwin Strong certainly helped expedite the Queen’s plans. Ser Criston absolutely provoked Ser Harwin based on information could discern regarding the Princess’ children.
- Predictably, the kids of King Viserys and Queen Alicent were incredibly whacked.
- I could have done without the scene of Prince Aegon hammering one out. I was already under the impression the kids were spoiled brats and didn’t need that visual.
- Prince Daemon’s antics and his marriage to Laena Velaryon are about what was to be expected.
- Ser Criston’s change from innocent, almost naive knight to bitter, conniving asset of the queen was quite stark.
- More incest proposed…indeed (insert head slap emoji).
- Laena’s suicide by dragon was…rushed and unexpected.
- Larys Strong offing his father and brother with a treacherous scheme was the last incredibly huge plot point that happened.
- Overall, I still feel like the show can’t hit its pacing. This episode had a slew of major happenings go down and it was almost hard to keep up with everything and feel confident that you captured it all. I had to watch it twice to make sure I was capturing it all properly.
Cobra Kai, Dahmer
I’m in the early stages of both of these series right now and will do up a report on both when complete.
Now, over to zippy for a Rings of Power review.
Rings of Power
Episode 5 of Rings of Power was great. I flat-out loved it, and it’s just in time as we head into the last three episodes of season one. Storylines are converging, characters are deciding who they are, and there’s the faint sense a greater evil is lurking. What’s at work in Middle-Earth?
Let’s get into it, spoilers below:
- Nori, the Harfoot, is slowly teaching The Stranger to converse and we find him shaken by the concept of death — which seems foreign to him. “The fireflies! I’m peril,” he laments. “No, you’re good,” Nori replies. “You’re here to help.” To which he responds, uncertainly: “I’m good.”
- Okay: he’s definitely Gandalf, right? We’re seeing a powerful being learning that using power in Middle-Earth is both taxing on his mortal body and perilous. He has a growing fondness for the Harfoots — Hobbit predecessors — who have taken him in, but accidentally hurt Nori and scared her away while healing himself. That must be devastating to him, that he might have shattered the one real connection he had. This all fits with a Gandalf reluctant to ever show his full might later in life.
- “Why are you helping? Half of us left,” asks Theo to the elf Arondir after Waldreg leads a bunch of Southlanders away to the orcs. The Elves have this prejudice against them, many believing that — to quote Elrond in LOTR — “Men are weak” and doomed to surrender to darkness. “Half of you stayed,” replies Arondir. I love it.
- Elrond & Durin are the best pair. Elrond is being pressured to break his oath to Durin to not reveal mithril, and eventually comes clean to his friend, abashedly. Durin asks him to lay it out there: “Give me the meat, and give it to me raw,” he says. Phrasing!
- Really bad look for our Elves here. High King Gil-galad has decided his species are doomed and amassing mithril is the only way out, to which ends he’ll go cloak-and-dagger on the Dwarves, no problem. I have to wonder if this isn’t the machinations of Sauron behind the scenes — laying the groundwork for convincing the Elves to forge the power-preserving Rings later, and also sowing discord among his enemies.
- But discord is not here yet, as Durin of course will help out his pal. He appreciates the honesty — and loves the idea of holding the Elves’ entire fate in his hands.
- I’m struck by how different Elrond and Galadriel are here to their later selves. Elrond is carefree and light-hearted, not severe and scarred. Galadriel is getting after it and won’t be kept away from the action, not serene and retired to Lothlorien. They’re both about to go through it, aren’t they?
- Halbrand and Galadriel have quite the confrontation. She’s quite shaken by it — either from confronting her own vulnerabilities in the open, or, as I’m still convinced, because this is a brush with Sauron himself. The lines he throws at her — “You don’t know what I’ve done” and “I’m sorry about your brother” (whom Sauron killed).
- Is Halbrand putting on a show about being torn whether to follow Galadriel’s advice and be crowned king of the Southlands — a.k.a future Mordor? I think so, and also Sauron would likely have to be careful thinking about how to handle a worthy adversary — perhaps the only one right now in Middle-Earth.
- While the Númenoreans set sail — with Halbrand, whose work there seems done — to save the Southlands, Ar-Pharazôn stays behind to ride the tides and scheme, Game of Thrones style.
- Adar the Fallen Elf. “You are Sauron, are you not?” asks Waldreg to him as he offers himself in submission. Adar responds with fury — and forces him to kill a fellow human, which to his own horror he chooses to.
- Adar seems like another former lieutenant of Morgoth who is filling the darkness vacuum of in Middle-Earth. He wants to destroy the Sun (don’t they all), become a God, and take care of the orcs to whom he feels a special connection. He looks poised to turn the Southlands into the ashen valley of Mordor, for which his reward will likely be a “thanks” and a swift death after Sauron returns.
Bavarian Podcast Works: Preview Show — Bayern Munich vs. Bayer 04 Leverkusen
Things are not getting easier for Bayern Munich or Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga! Bayern lies fifth while Bayer Leverkusen currently sits fifteenth with only one win to their name in the Bundesliga (and a surprising victory over Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Champions League). Without further ado, this is what we have in this episode:
- A look at how some Bayern Munich players performed over the international break including Serge Gnabry and Dayot Upamecano.
- A change in heart from me regarding the number of goals Bayer Leverkusen has conceded so far.
- A look at Bayer Leverkusen’s current squad and some of their transfers.
- A discussion about what is really wrong with Leverkusen.
- Discussing who might start for Bayern this game (Ryan Gravenberch?).
Bayern Munich has to win at some point in the Bundesliga, right?
Prediction: Bayern Munich 3-1 Bayer Leverkusen
Other Bundesliga predictions include:
- Eintracht Frankfurt 2-2 Union Berlin
- FC Köln 0-2 Borussia Dortmund
- SC Freiburg 2-1 Mainz 05
- RB Leipzig 3-1 VfL Bochum
- Wolfsburg 2-1 VfB Stuttgart
- Werder Bremen 1-2 Borussia Mönchengladbach
- Hertha Berlin 2-2 Hoffenheim
- Schalke 04 1-0 FC Augsburg
- Last match day’s overall record: 3-6
- Overall Bundesliga record: 26-37
- DFL-Supercup record: 1-0
- DFB-Pokal record: 1-0
- Champions League record: 2-0
- WWU overall record: 30-37
- Guest predictions: 7-4