Earlier this week, Bayern Munich finalized a loan agreement for Manchester City’s Joao Cancelo, which excited a large portion of the club’s fanbase.
Cancelo, like Bayern Munich’s Noussair Mazraoui, is a right-back by trade, who can also play left-back. The starter at left-back, of course, is Alphonso Davies, who found himself under the gun this week for, perhaps, the first time in his professional career.
A report broke from Sport1 that said Davies returned from the break “unfocused” and “unfit”, which was very curious. Earlier this season, Davies was also reported to be the primary target of Real Madrid in an upcoming transfer window, which could — in some cases — be a bit of a distraction for a young player.
Another report, this one from Sport Bild (as captured by @iMiaSanMia), indicated that manager Julian Nagelsmann was also getting tough on players during training, particularly about defensive awareness and positioning — two areas where Davies has struggled at times during this campaign:
For example, Nagelsmann criticized the positioning and defending and was not afraid to single out individual players or parts of the team in training
All that said, it still looks like Bayern Munich wants to retain the Canadian star, whose contract runs through the 2024/25 season. If — and this is a big if — Davies is actually planning to move on, the noise would start getting a lot louder at this time next year and not necessarily right now.
Moreover, Davies, himself, is now talking openly about being part of Bayern Munich’s next generation.
“The goal is always to be Bayern’s ‘next gen’,” Davies told FCBayern.com (as captured by @iMiaSanMia).
So, lock it in, correct?
Not so fast just yet.
In an odd twist of fate, another outside-back, who is rumored to be on the list of players that Nagelsmann would like to work with, did not move during the winter transfer window — VfB Stuttgart’s Borna Sosa.
Sosa was closely linked to a transfer to Bayer Leverkusen, which would have been a fantastic move for both Sosa and Die Werkself, alike:
News #Sosa: Leverkusen is working on a transfer! It’s a hard poker about money. Stuttgart rejected a first offer of around €10m. More to come. @Sky_AlexB @SkySportDE pic.twitter.com/VPUua193ts— Florian Plettenberg (@Plettigoal) January 31, 2023
Sosa’s failure to move on does give Bayern Munich one more option — and a natural left-back / left wing-back at that — to fall back on should things sour with Davies.
So what should fans expect from all of this?
Davies probably will not leave Bayern Munich (barring some craziness occurring), but Real Madrid — along with some other power clubs in England — are sure to start lobbing rich proposals his way by next February and will make that a very tough call. A lot can change for both parties in a year’s time. From the player’s standpoint, the Canadian will have some very rich options if he wants to pursue them.
However, Bayern Munich could be well-poised to replace Davies as well, if needed. Mazraoui and Josip Stanišić are under contract, while many are also expecting the club to work out a deal for Cancelo to keep him in Germany on a long-term basis as well.
Finally, should Davies change course and decide that being a part of Bayern Munich’s “next gen” just is not for him, Sosa is still lurking around Germany — and available.
Whatever happens, the position will likely be well taken care of. Most fans will be rooting to see Davies become a career fixture at the club, but if he falls into a rut or the club does not see progress in some of the issues that Davies has been battling on the pitch, there will be plenty of good options as part of a fallback plan.
Song of the Week: “Hot for Teacher” by Van Halen
Maybe more know for its legendary video than for being an all-around awesome song, “Hot for Teacher” by Van Halen is tremendous.
You can’t really describe how great watching videos was at the time. I didn’t do much of it, but when I did and some quality VH came on, it was an experience. It was kind of cool back in the 80s when a lot of bands, singers, and directors were all trying to out do each other. Anyway, enjoy:
True story: This was the song I walked out to at my wedding reception (My wife is a teacher...see how creative I am?)
Bavarian Podcast Works: Weekend Warm-up Podcast Season 2, Episode 30
Since the last edition of the Weekend Warm-up, Bayern Munich had another draw (this time against Eintracht Frankfurt), closed out its winter transfer in a scintillating fashion, and picked up a convincing win in the DFB-Pokal over Mainz 05.
In between all of that, there was a ton of news.
In other words, there was a hell of a lot to talk about before we even get to all of the normal drama (questions about Alphonso Davies, different questions about Julian Nagelsmann, etc.). So...let’s get to it. This is what we have on tap for this weekend’s episode:
- A preview of Bayern Munich vs. Wolfsburg, including Niko Kovac’s dig at his old club.
- Grading the winter transfer window.
- What has been up with Alphonso Davies?
- The world of Julian Nagelsmann, his interactions with the squad, his use of a back three, and more!
The Last of Us
I am always a sucker for a good backstory or a flashback. So far, The Last of Us has delivered on giving its viewers some quality, worthwhile background on the overall story. Let’s take a look at some quick hits on the episode:
- The episode was titled “Long Long Time” and gave the backstory on Bill and Frank, how they met, how their relationship evolved, and how they became involved with Joel and Tess — and now ultimately how they are still impacting the journey of Joel and Ellie.
- The backstory itself was extremely well done. The timing of it — in the show’s third episode was odd. Again, I don’t know much about the video game’s version of the story, but this was a good flashback. I did wonder about the strategy of breaking up the current storyline to tell this tale. It just seemed a little early to interrupt the viewer’s focus on Joel and Ellie’s trek.
- In terms of storyline advancement, there was virtually none. We learned that panic stricken and some innocent folks were executed “during the fall of society” because the authorities could not guarantee they were not infected, but that was still more flashback action. This is an interesting way to tell the tale, we’ll see how it all plays out as the season advances onward.
Say what? Another version of Dexter?
It appears so.
Admittedly, I did not watch the latest season (Dexter: New Blood) where the series was picked backup. Like many shows, Dexter had some terrifically awesome seasons and then puttered out toward the end with nonsensical storylines, uncharacteristic decisions by well-establish characters, and a rushed ending.
As much as I like the character and the story, I am not sure we need to see much more of this show. Per TVLine, this is what is going on:
Multiple sources confirm to TVLine exclusively that Showtime will not be moving forward with a second season of its phenomenally successful revival, Dexter: New Blood. However, the network is far from done with the Dexter franchise (more on that in a moment.)
The follow-up to Dexter: New Blood — which had been in development — would’ve found Harrison (played by The Good Lord Bird‘s Jack Alcott) picking up where his late father (Michael C. Hall) left off. (In the Jan. 2022 finale, Harrison killed his dear ol’ dad after discovering that he had murdered the guilty-of-nothing Sgt. Logan.)
The decision not to move forward with Season 2 comes as something as a surprise considering New Blood ranked as Showtime’s most-watched series in the premium cabler’s history, with the 10-episode continuation averaging 8 million weekly viewers. But as noted above, the demise of New Blood does not spell the end of the Dexter brand. Far from it.
According to insiders, Showtime — which will soon merge with Paramount+ — is exploring a number of new iterations of Dexter, including a prequel series centered around a young version of the titular antihero.
A Showtime rep was not available for comment on the quasi-cancellation of New Blood or the future of the franchise. Immediately following the finale of New Blood, showrunner Clyde Phillips told TVLine that a potential second season is “all in Showtime’s hands,” adding, “If they were to call me and say, ‘We want to do [a second season], we want you to figure it out,’ I’m pretty busy, but I would drop everything I’m doing and jump right into it. I would love to do it, but it’s really up to Showtime.”
Though I did not watch Dexter: New Blood (truthfully, I knew it would end in a way that would likely irk me...it did because Showtime just left it hanging open again without a renewal) why should fans or casual observers dive back into another version of the show or the character when Showtime could pull the plug no matter how successful the show might be?
Showtime is a disaster with managing the shows it has on its roster. If the network is not interested in giving those diehard fans a satisfying conclusion to the original story that it resurrected, why should those same fans dive right back in to another unstable product?
Anyway, here is my ranking of the best seasons of Dexter (bearing in mind, I did not watch the Dexter: New Blood):
- Season 4: This was the best of Dexter. The Trinity Killer (John Lithgow) was the best villain that the series had ever seen. There was major suspense, terrific acting, a completely worthy adversary for Dexter, and the death of Rita. Everything from Dexter gaining access to Frank Lundy’s files (Lundy was an incredible mind to track the pattern of the killer) to every interaction between Dexter and Arthur Mitchell aka The Trinity Killer was absolutely fantastic. The show was never better.
- Season 1: The series’ first season had a ton of great reveals (including the origin of the Ice Truck Killer) and set the tone for what would be a fascinating run of episodes. If you were not totally hooked by the end of this season, you at least were kept curious enough to want to stay with it. Of course, the big reveal is that the villain is actually Dexter’s brother, who just also happens to be dating Deb (Dexter’s sister).
- Season 2: Essentially a full season of Dexter aka “The Bay Harbor Butcher” trying to evade the one person who knew what he was up to — Lt. James Doakes (expertly played by Erik King) and another — FBI agent Frank Lundy — who was getting closer. It was a fascinating cat-and-mouse game. If Dexter struggled with any one thing during its run, it was being able to give the secondary characters (any character not Dexter) meaningful arcs (which started to surface a bit in Season 2).
- Season 5: Hunting “The Barrel Girl Gang”, Dexter spend a lot of the season with Lumen (Julia Stiles). A decent season (again, not great), this is where things really start to slope downward. It was as if the writers had no idea how to make the show evolve and move forward.
- Season 7: Dexter spent most of this season sparring with Russian mobster Isaac Sirko, but the Season 6’s big reveal (explained below) made the show feel extremely...weird. Honestly, I didn’t hate the season at all, but the ending really doomed the show for me.
- Season 3: Jimmy Smits portrayed a character (Prosecutor Miguel Prado) who drove much of the story line Season 3, but this is where some cracks started to form in Dexter’s storytelling as a series. A good, but not great season, the main antagonist was “The Skinner.” This was a borderline throwaway season in some ways.
- Season 6: This season focused on the “Doomsday Killers” and it was, well, not great. Colin Hanks and Edwards James Olmos took over the primary “bad guy” roles in a season that scuffled and sputtered. Truthfully, once Deb discovered Dexter’s secret, the show was never going to the same (in a very bad way).
- Season 8: The series finale was a mess, the Deb storyline came to an unfortunate conclusion, and it featured a lame baddie (The Brain Surgeon). This was a series of miscalculations and mistakes that culminated in a terribly written and paced season that did not give the series the proper ending that it deserved.
Bayern Munich finally got a win (over Mainz in the DFB-Pokal), but now needs to buckle down and rack up three points in the league. Standing in the way of that quest is Wolfsburg and former coach Niko Kovac.
While Wolfsburg is much improved, Bayern Munich might finally be hitting its stride and looked dangerous for the first time in a long time against Mainz. Will we see more of a back three from Julian Nagelsmann? The serial tinkerer might be leaning that way — and it could be a good thing to maximize the the talent he has at his disposal.
Prediction: Wolfsburg 1-3 Bayern Munich
Other Bundesliga Match Day 19 predictions include:
- FC Augsburg 1-3 Bayer Leverkusen
- VfL Bochum 1-2 Hoffenheim
- Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0 Hertha Berlin
- FC Köln 0-3 RB Leipzig
- Borussia Dortmund 3-2 SC Freiburg
- Union Berlin 2-1 Mainz 05
- Borussia Mönchengladbach 2-1 Schalke 04
- VfB Stuttgart 1-1 Werder Bremen
- Overall Bundesliga record: 82-80
- DFL-Supercup record: 1-0
- DFB-Pokal record: 3-0
- Champions League record: 5-1
- World Cup overall record: 38-25
- WWU overall record: 129-106
- Guest predictions: 7-5