Bayern Munich travelled to Italy and downed Inter Milan 2-0 behind a staunch defensive effort that might have given fans a look into the future. More on that in a bit, but for now, let’s get started with some quick hitters on the match:
- Julian Nagelsmann opted for a little bit different of a look as he rolled with Leroy Sané, Kingsley Coman, Marcel Sabitzer, and Matthijs de Ligt over Serge Gnabry, Jamal Musiala, Leon Goretzka, and Dayot Upamecano:
- Nagelsmann has been toying with different combinations within his attacking group and only Thomas Müller and Sadio Mané appear to be “every day” starters. Sabitzer over Goretzka just makes sense for now as there is no reason to rush the German back into the fold — even if he thinks he’s back at 100%. As for De Ligt, he just seems better than Upamecano right now, though I think Nagelsmann will be rotating the trio in an effort to keep them all fresh and healthy.
- Undoubtedly, Müller wanted that chance he had early in the ninth minute back. It was not a “gimme” goal by any means, but an opportunity that he likely feels like he should have done better with.
- Müller’s day could be best categorized as extremely active...and extremely unlucky.
- Joshua Kimmich’s assist on Sané’s 25th minute goal was incredible. For his part, Sané did excellent work in controlling the ball and finishing as well. Just a phenomenal goal.
- If I were Nagelsmann, I’d get Mané some rest. This was the least sharp he has looked. He wasn’t terrible or anything like that, but he is a 30-year-old with a lot of mileage on his legs. Bayern Munich has a ton of attacking talent for a reason, so resting the Senegalese player should be in the works.
- I thought De Ligt and Lucas Hernandez were terrific together. If Hernandez signs a new deal with the club, this could be the center-back pairing that fans can look forward to watching for years to come. What does that mean for Upamecano? Long-term...who knows? For now, though, this is quite a formidable threesome in the central defense.
- Edin Džeko almost made De Ligt pay for giving him an inch of space in the 50th minute, but that was the biggest threat that Bayern Munich faced in the match.
- Defensively, this was probably Bayern Munich’s most sound effort overall. Benjamin Pavard and Alphonso Davies were also very solid.
- Manuel Neuer’s spin-o-rama on Lautaro Martínez was a bit of a Three Stooges routine, but it worked, eh?
- Bayern Munich’s second goal may have been an own goal, but I feel like that is one of those tough situations where the amount of pressure just broke the defense.
- Check out this little stat:
- Overall, Bayern Munich was not always as fluid as they have looked at their best, but the squad was dominant in just about every facet of the match. It was not a bad way to start off the Champions League season. Now...it’s on to FC Barcelona.
Oh man...this thing might really be happening — Bayern Munich could really be preparing itself for a run at Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane:
I still remain torn on this. Kane is fantastic and would be a nice bridge to Bayern Munich getting Erling Haaland in a couple of years (let me continue to dream!), but I wonder how he would fit in under Julian Nagelsmann. Kane is still somehow just 29-year-old, too.
Whatever the case, I guess if he wants Bayern and Bayern wants him...it should happen.
According to Fabrizio Romano, Sadio Mané knew he was leaving Liverpool after last season’s Champions League finale.
“If you ask me, I don’t think selling Mané was a mistake, because when a player wants to leave, there is no point in keeping him at the club,” Romano wrote in his CaughtOffside column on Substack. “Mané asked repeatedly and with conviction to try a new experience, so Liverpool in my opinion have done well to accept and it will take time to start a new era without a star like Sadio. Changing his mind was impossible, after the final in Paris, Mané was clear with the club: he only wanted to join Bayern Munich.”
Speaking of Manchester City’s Erling Haaland, Sport Bild captured a report from Spain that Bayern Munich and Real Madrid could become serious players for the Norwegian superstar in 2024 — though he would cost a ton at that point since his deal will not expire until 2027:
Spanish journalist Josep Pedrerol told El Chiringuito that Real are still determined to sign the Norwegian. However, it is only about the year 2024. Until then, the Royals want to continue to rely on the Frenchman Karim Benzema (34), who would then be 36 years old and whose career should be coming to an end at this point.
However, Haaland has signed a long-term contract with Manchester City until 2027 and as things currently stand, it can be assumed that Real would have to dig very, very deep into their pockets in two years to sign the former Dortmund player on a permanent basis.
In the spring, many experts were still firmly assuming that Real Haaland would snap up this summer. For a long time, a possible (and then very expensive) commitment by Kylian Mbappé (23, Paris St. Germain) was the only plausible counter-argument for this thesis. In the end, however, Real didn’t get either player, only strengthening themselves on the defensive with Antonio Rüdiger (29, Chelsea FC) and Aurelien Tchouameni (22, AS Monaco).
Haaland-Papa Alf-Inge had explained in a documentary about his son on the “VIAPLAY” streaming service that Real would only have come third as a potential new club this summer. Behind Man City and according to his own statement also behind FC Bayern …
Bayern Munich once again could not find a way past Borussia Mönchengladbach and settled for a draw, but rebounded with a nice win over Viktoria Köln in the DFB-Pokal.
Even with all of the action on the pitch, there was still a lot to talk about off of it. Let’s take a look at what we have on tap for this episode:
- Assessing the club’s performances against Gladbach and Viktoria Köln.
- Bayern Munich’s depth is incredible.
- It’s a matter of time before Matthijs de Ligt is an anointed full-time starter.
- Daydreaming about a Bayern Munich vs. Manchester City Champions League finale.
- A look at Bayern Munich’s transfer window.
Former Tottenham Hotspur and Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino has been linked to Sevilla:
Sevilla have reportedly made contact with former Tottenham and Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino.
After sacking Thomas Tuchel, though, Chelsea FC might also be interested in Pochettino (The Mirror), but seems more likely to go after Brighton’s Graham Potter:
Pochettino would certainly make use of Chelsea’s highly-rated academy thanks to his ability to nurture young players, and he’d able to operate on a budget which he wasn’t afforded at Tottenham. There’s just one major sticking point; is Pochettino willing to sour his strong relationship with Spurs fans and would the Stamford Bridge faithful accept his cross-London ties?
When fútbol meets (American) football:
I think Tom Adams sent me this note, because he wants to be one of the “Hot Tub Boyz”: