As Bayern Munich fans walk through the valley of darkness and pain, they can take a look at the table, and realize their team’s results have been very plain. Poor chemistry on the field and the occasional whispers of dressing room discontent — plus a loaded schedule that doesn’t get easier, with Bayer 04 Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund next on tap in the Bundesliga — threaten the Bavarians’ march towards an eleventh consecutive title.
Chemistry is a key component to success, and keeping spirits up and vibes positive in a squad as competitive and loaded as Bayern’s is something the club devotes a lot of attention to.
“Keeping an eye on that is an essential part of our daily management,” club sporting director Hasan “Brazzo” Salihamidžić said to Bayern Munich club magazine “51” in a recent interview.
“We have a lot of conversations to be close to the team and to be able to identify currents and moods. In addition, there is an almost daily check: who’s playing, Who’s not playing, who’s satisfied, who’s perhaps less satisfied at the moment? That is a dynamic process.”
In football, this is often considered a chief component of the manager’s job — here Julian Nagelsmann — to get the mood of the players right as much, or moreso than the tactics. Though as Brazzo makes clear, it has to be a whole club operation, which spreads the responsibilities as well as avoids making a single person’s man-management qualities the hope on which everything must rest.
Still, that doesn’t mean the coach doesn’t also play an enormous role — starting with his team selections.
“It’s completely normal that with 20 ambitious players there are three or four who don’t get to play and might therefore be dissatisfied,” Brazzo added. “It’s very important, especially for the coach, to moderate this properly, because everyone has to be in top form in the spring.”
For some fans, especially the younger ones, they’ve been spending most their lives living in a Bavarian paradise. These really are unusual waters. Ten titles on the spin; will there be an eleventh? The way things are going, we don’t know. But should the Rekordmeisters mount yet another successful defense, it won’t be down to luck or money — but rather careful, daily attention to their situation.
Winning routinely is not so straightforward, even with the budget and talent edge Bayern enjoy. Challenges come every season, and it’s down to everyone to make sure they’re still pulling in the same direction. Fortunately, there are also good signs — through the actions of leading players such as Sadio Mané, Thomas Müller, Manuel Neuer, and Joshua Kimmich.