During the press conference before Bayern Munich’s match against Union Berlin, Julian Nagelsmann was asked how Bayern could perform so differently in the Bundesliga versus the Champions League. It was suggested to Nagelsmann that, perhaps, the players have less motivation to win the Bundesliga than the Champions League after winning the former 10 times in a row.
Nagelsmann is careful with his words and does not like to generalize, though. “I can’t speak for every player because everyone is different. They are different characters with different lives. That can make things complex in a team sport.
But the former coach of TSG Hoffenheim does believe that it is human to struggle to find motivation to win the title yet again. “But yes, it does mean that, if one wins the title again and again, one needs to keep their motivation and drive really high. Perhaps [the joy of winning the title] is less when you win it for the 7th, 8th time.”
Nagelsmann then allows himself a comparison out of left field. “If you ride a rollercoaster in amusement park, for example, it is really fun the first time. It will still be fun by the ninth time, but not quite as fun.”
Therefore players must find other goals to reach. “You need to find your motivation through multiple different things. Development as a player, for example. If you can’t do something that well, work on it, even when you’re 32, 33, 34, 35.”
Extreme conspiracy theorists will reckon he is taking a dig at Thomas Müller there. But Nagelsmann follows this up by articulating how well Bayern have been able to keep motivated all these years. “That is something that the new players always see from the others. This is why [Bayern] has won the title so many years in a row. And besides, we are still in first place [in the Bundesliga] and have our destiny in our own hands, as in the DFB Pokal, as in the Champions League.”
That is true. Now it will be up to Nagelsmann and the players to grab that destiny with both hands and succeed, as Bayern has always found a way to do in the last decade.