Without question, Dayot Upamecano has been one of Bayern Munich’s most improved players from last season to this season, and the French defender has quickly become a leader in Bayern’s back line. Alongside Matthijs de Ligt, he’s been a reliable commander in the back, alleviating what was a stressful stroke of unfortunate luck when Julian Nagelsmann had to deal with losing Lucas Hernandez to an ACL tear while with France at the World Cup in Qatar.
For Upamecano, he’s made significantly less mistakes than he did last season, looks far more confident on the ball, and doesn’t look phased by any attackers either in the Bundesliga, or in European competition. As he also showed with France at the World Cup, there’s no one he fears going up against.
As far as a lot of his own personal improvements from last season, Upamecano recently talked about how he likes the personal attention to detail that Nagelsmann brings to the table and the way he communicates with all of his players. Upamecano had already been used to working with him at RB Leipzig before coming to Bayern during the same summer transfer window as the manager, but he’s night and day of what he was in his maiden season at Bayern. “He communicates a lot with us players and I like coaches who clearly address mistakes and immediately point out possible solutions. Julian does that, he praises and analyzes. He is very good for my development,” Upamecano said of Nagelsmann in a recent interview with FC Bayern’s web site (via @iMiaSanMia).
Upamecano has also seen two new defensive reinforcements join the ranks at Bayern during the winter transfer window in Daley Blind and Joao Cancelo. The latter has really hit the ground running and the 1-0 win over Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League was the first match he played in where he didn’t register an assist. Blind has played quite as much as Cancelo, but his experience and defensive prowess has been a welcomed addition to Nagelsmann’s back line, and Blind also possesses the versatility to play in midfield.
Noussair Mazraoui is on the mend after recovering from a bout of pericarditis, but Lucas Hernandez will more than likely miss the remainder of the season for Bayern with his ACL tear, so Upamecano feels that both Blind and Cancelo are quality additions to Bayern’s defense. “João and Daley fit wonderfully into our team. João has provided two assists in his debuts and Daley has a lot of experience. I’m glad they’re both with us,” he said.