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Weekend Warm-up: Bayern Munich creates its own Game of Thrones at goalkeeper; Throwing it back to “Crackerman” by Stone Temple Pilots; Thoughts on The Last of Us; Bundesliga predictions; & MORE!

It’s match day! Bayern Munich vs. RB Leipzig...are you ready?

FC Bayern München Unveils New Signing Yann Sommer Photo by S. Mellar/FC Bayern via Getty Images

When Bayern Munich’s acquisition of Yann Sommer from Borussia Mönchengladbach finally went through, it represented a terrific solution to what was a serious problem.

Sven Ulreich, a fine player in his own right, might not be quite at the level needed to lead the team in its quest for a treble during the Rückrunde. Alexander Nübel, the club’s anointed “goalkeeper of the future”, had both logistical trouble and a lack of desire to leave AS Monaco early from his loan assignment.

Sommer was the best answer for the question on how to best proceed this season, but what happens moving forward? Manuel Neuer’s serious leg injury has left the club doubting the viability of his return and if he can return to any type of requisite quality.

With that, both Sommer and Nübel could be in play to suit up for Bayern Munich next season. Imagine a training camp with Neuer, Sommer, Nübel, Ulreich, and Johannes Schenk all vying for a roster position.

Things, undoubtedly, will get heated. For Sommer, he inked his deal with Bayern Munich prepared to armor-up and do battle with Neuer per some extensive reporting from Sport1’s Kerry Hau (as captured @iMiaSanMia):

Yann Sommer made it clear to Salihamidžić and Kahn that he would not shy away from competition with Neuer when the latter comes back, hence the contract until 2025. A departure in the summer is unlikely, especially since Neuer’s comeback date is unknown.

Sommer, who speaks both German and French — an undoubted advantage for any goalkeeper at Bayern Munich, is ready to stay and fight for a starting role. Meanwhile, despite his spurning of the club when it needed him most, Nübel is still firmly in the plans of Bayern Munich:

Bayern did not completely close the chapter of Alex Nübel yet due to his positive development in Monaco and also his age (26) compared to Neuer (36) and Sommer (34). Bayern rejected all permanent transfer enquiries for Nübel from Monaco and other interested clubs.

What does it all mean, though?

Well, it does not take much reading between the lines to see that Bayern Munich has some serious doubt that Neuer, who turns 37 in March, will be able to return in the type of form that would allow him to perform at the level that he has become known for.

The timetable for Neuer’s return is also a bit murky. By all accounts, this was a serious injury and while a break might heal on a specific timeline, there is no guarantee that Neuer’s mobility, agility, reflexes, and foot speed will not be impaired permanently.

As for Nübel, he already appears to be irritated with Bayern Munich and reluctant to return to any roster that includes Neuer (and maybe goalkeeper coach Toni Tapalović as well). Does adding Sommer to an already volatile mix makes things better in his mind? Probably not.

Meanwhile, Ulreich and Schenk will both be inside this battle, without a sword. Neither player will be considered for a starting role next season. Ulreich will likely be the No. 3 goalkeeper unless he opts to push for a transfer (why would he?) and Schenk can easily look around see why a loan assignment might not be such a bad idea for his own future.

So there you have it...Neuer vs. Sommer vs. Nübel. Who will be the last goalkeeper standing? We won’t know how that all plays out until Neuer is deemed healthy enough to return and Nübel ends his jaunt in France.

If you have a strong preference in what should be a fascinating battle, you might want to start flying your banners this summer. It could FC Hollywood drama at its finest.


Bavarian Podcast Works: Weekend Warm-up Podcast Season 2, Episode 28

What a week for Bayern Munich! Yann Sommer officially transferred in, Konrad Laimer unofficially inks his deal (allegedly), and there is wall-to-wall excitement for the squad’s re-start in the Bundesliga.

Needless to say, we have A LOT on our minds about the biggest news pieces of the week. This is what we have on tap for this week’s episode:

  • Reacting to the Yann Sommer signing and the weird quirk of this deal that will be odd to watch play out.
  • Konrad Laimer’s signing isn’t official, but it’s done.
  • New rumors on Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane and why it will be easier for Bayern Munich to get him rather than other Premier League squads.
  • Should Bayern Munich fans get excited for Arijon Ibrahimović?
  • Assessing the Bundesliga title race.
  • Some brief thoughts on the series premiere of The Last of Us.

Song of the Week: “Crackerman” by Stone Temple Pilots

Back in 1993 or so, Stone Temple Pilots became a fixture on Philadelphia’s rock and alternative rock stations (which were plentiful back in the day). Mostly known for the massive hit “Plush”, the “Core” album had some downright excellent tunes, including “Crackerman” — which hits hard immediately and never loses its pace:

I ended up seeing STP in concert (I am not a huge concert guy, so this tells you how big a fan I was of this album) in the summer of ‘94 and I will say, they were fantastic. The Meat Puppets opened for them (that’s a throwback, eh?).

Anyway, I hope you enjoy that look back at the past.


Entertainment Rundown

The Last of Us

I did it. I checked out HBO’s The Last of Us and this...is what I thought about it:

  • As always, I try to enter a new series with very little knowledge of it if there is an established story already. What does that mean? Well, I eschewed trying to learn anything about the video game that it was derived from.
  • I will say this, I loved opening scene where they actually just lay out that the world could potentially become zombified. It was a quick, easy way to differentiate itself from The Walking Dead immediately. Granted, I really liked how The Walking Dead tackled its reveal, but this was a good, effective way to let the audience know this was going to be a different type of zombie story.
  • The one thing that The Last of Us did was show that immediate frenzy after the outbreak really starts. In The Walking Dead universe, you had to hang in for the mess of a show that was Fear The Walking Dead to give you that.
  • I’m a big fan of Pedro Pascal and once again, he did not disappoint. He is pretty much rock solid in every role. As Joel, he definitely exudes the proper amount of desperation, anger, and bad ass-ery.
  • Anna Torv as Tess, Gabriel Luna as Tommy, and Bella Ramsey as Ellie also are intriguing in their roles.
  • From here, my review is a little less complimentary, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t like it.
  • The storytelling and immediate flash forward were extremely rushed. Just as you are trying to get a feel for the characters, what makes them who they are, and how they are handling the initial outbreak and insanity that followed, you get slammed into the future. I was left wanting to see a lot more of that. There will likely be flashbacks aplenty showing everything, but in that episode, I just wanted a little more.
  • There are obviously a lot of unanswered questions about how things evolved from the outbreak in Austin, Texas to a makeshift dystopian society in Boston, Massachusetts. Things definitely transitioned too quickly for the viewer to truly absorb the motivations of the characters and why they were doing some of the things they were doing.
  • It just really felt as if the writers tried to cover too much in the opening episode.
  • Overall, it was an okay first episode. I love to be completely “wowed” by the premiere of a series, but I do acknowledge that not every show is capable of doing that for various reasons. Some require a longer burn. The Last of Us has potential to be very good or it could go off the rails and be a disaster. How this story is told is ultimately unknown at this stage, but there is some hope that quality acting and an interesting subject matter can guide the writing team to putting together a tighter storyline moving forward.

Bavarian Podcast Works: Preview Show — RB Leipzig vs. Bayern Munich

Finally.

Bayern Munich will spring back to Bundesliga action this week and BFW is here to get you primed and ready as the Bavarians will be squaring off with a very tough RB Leipzig squad.

With no Manuel Neuer, Lucas Hernandez, Noussair Mazroaui, or Sadio Mané, it is clear that Die Roten is not exactly operating at full capacity. Is Bayern Munich ripe for the picking? RB Leipzig will surely want to find out. Check out what we have on tap for this episode:

  • A look at where each team resides in the table.
  • Some talk about the form of each club before the extended World Cup break.
  • Why Bayern Munich could be in a little bit of danger.
  • A guess at Julian Nagelsmann’s lineup.
  • A prediction on the match.

Predictions

Wow...there are a lot of moving parts right now for Bayern Munich. A lot of talent, but also a lot of uncertainty. Yann Sommer might or might not start, the starters at wing remain a mystery, Jamal Musiala is the new No. 10, and Thomas Müller might be on the bench.

How will the team function in a high-pressure environment against a good team? There is a lot to consider. Even against what seem might like challenging odds, Bayern Munich should prevail in this match.

It won’t be easy, but Leipzig is also making some adjustments with its own squad. As much as I have some doubt about how this will all work for Bayern Munich in the second half of the season, this match feels like a win...or at least a draw. I’ll go with a win as the squad will surely be more motivated and focused than it was against Red Bull Salzburg last week.

Match Day 16 Prediction: RB Leipzig 2-3 Bayern Munich

  • Other Bundesliga Match Day 16 predictions include:
  • VfL Bochum 1-2 Hertha Berlin
  • Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1 Schalke 04
  • VfB Stuttgart 2-2 Mainz 05
  • Union Berlin 1-0 Hoffenheim
  • Wolfsburg 1-1 SC Freiburg
  • FC Köln 2-2 Werder Bremen
  • Borussia Dortmund 3-1 FC Augsburg
  • Borussia Mönchengladbach 1-3 Bayer Leverkusen

Ah, but a condensed schedule will put the Bavarians right back out on the pitch on Tuesday. Luckily, FC Köln has struggled this season and barring a complete letdown, Bayern Munich should be able to bounce back on short notice and capture three points.

Match Day 17 Prediction: Bayern Munich 4-0 FC Köln

Other Match Day Bundesliga predictions include:

  • RB Leipzig 3-1 Schalke 04
  • Hertha Berlin 1-2 Wolfsburg
  • Hoffenheim 1-0 VfB Stuttgart
  • Mainz 05 1-3 Borussia Dortmund
  • FC Augsburg 1-2 Borussia Mönchengladbach
  • Bayer Leverkusen 3-0 VfL Bochum
  • SC Freiburg 2-2 Eintracht Frankfurt
  • Werder Bremen 1-2 Union Berlin

Prediction Records

  • Overall Bundesliga record: 64-69
  • DFL-Supercup record: 1-0
  • DFB-Pokal record: 2-0
  • Champions League record: 5-1
  • World Cup overall record: 38-25
  • WWU overall record: 110-95
  • Guest predictions: 7-5

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