Well, this isn’t going to help matters. In an interview with Sportschau, Bayern Munich coach Julian Nagelsmann appeared to double down on his feud with Manuel Neuer, saying that the reason he had a new goalkeeping coach brought in was to deal with the “sharks” at the club. It doesn’t sound much better in context, I promise you.
While the interview itself deals with a lot of topics, including the upcoming Champions League games versus PSG, Nagelsmann was not afraid to address the elephant in the room. On the hiring of new goalkeeping coach Michael Rechner from Hoffenheim, the head coach had the following to say.
“I know Michael from my Hoffenheim days. But he is not my buddy. In my eyes, he’s the best solution in terms of content, it has nothing to do with being friends.”
When Hansi Flick left Bayern Munich in 2021, both Hermann Gerland and Miroslav Klose went with him. Therefore, Nagelsmann was allowed to bring Dino Toppmoller, Xaver Zembrod, and Benjamin Gluck from RB Leipzig. In fact, RB Leipzig demanded a significant transfer fee for the signing of Gluck, who worked there as a video analyst. Bayern ended up paying the fee. Now, with Rechner, Nagelsmann has one more loyal friend in the dressing room. Apparently, there’s a reason for that.
“There are coaches who bring eight, nine people with them to a club,” explained the Bayern coach. “That also has a purpose. The bigger the club, the more sharks swim around you. And it’s not bad if you’re in the middle of the shoal and there are a few pufferfish on the outside.”
Yes, he basically called Toni Tapalovic a shark with that comment. Harsh words to say to someone who has served the club since 2011. Then again, if the reports of friction between him and Nagelsmann are true, as well as the leaking of dressing room details, then the coach would be justified in feeling that way.
Whatever it means, it probably won’t go down too well with Manuel Neuer. Despite reports that the two met over the week and worked through their differences, this seems like another escalation in the conflict. Now we wait to see what the bosses will do in response to the interview. A meeting between Oliver Kahn, Brazzo, and Neuer is expected after the PSG game. Is there more drama left in this saga?
A commenter added some context to the terms used in the original German version of the interview.
I’ve been reading this site for years and years now and finally decided to sign up and comment.
I’m Afghan-German, grew up in Munich and have been following Bayern since the mid 80s, so I know a little bit about the club and culture and Munich and the people there - and expressions like “Haifischbecken”.
This is nothing personal against anyone. It’s a typical metaphor in German that is used to describe high pressure environments where a lot of egos come together. If you Google it you’ll find quotes calling probably every Bundesliga Club a Haifischbecken (I found one about when Klopp joined BVB). The whole Bundesliga is called a Haifischbecken.
So Nagelsmann is not calling anyone in particular a shark in this instance, however it still gets his feelings across and doesn’t exactly seem conciliatory. If the coach really meant to put the topic to rest, he wouldn’t say something like that.
In any case, the Neuer issue is yet to be settled. The meeting with the bosses after the PSG game should still be decisive on this front.