Sport1 journalist Kerry Hau released a fascinating account of the evolution of Julian Nagelsmann’s authority on the campus of Bayern Munich.
In just his second year on the job, the coach has been able to completely re-shape his staff, significantly alter his roster, and push the club into making serious investments into technology and the training grounds.
As Sport1 notes, the recent firing of Toni Tapalovic and subsequent hiring of Michael Rechner is the latest example of the power that Nagelsmann wields:
Nagelsmann worked successfully with Rechner at TSG Hoffenheim for several years and therefore campaigned for months to bring him to the Bavarian capital.
He was heard. The Bayern bosses around sports director Hasan Salihamidzic spared neither effort nor expense, agreed according to SPORT1 information with TSG on a six-digit transfer fee for the 42-year-old.
Bringing in Rechner closes the loop on Nagelsmann’s coaching staff. Now, everyone on the primary staff has the official stamp of approval from the manager:
The deal is one of many votes of confidence the bosses have shown in the coach. And one of many proofs that Hansi Flick’s successor has created a small empire on Säbener Straße after less than a year and a half.
The coaching team now consists almost exclusively of close confidants of Nagelsmann. The assistant coaches Benjamin Glück (37), Dino Toppmöller (42) and Xaver Zembrod (56) came - as did team psychologist Dr. Maximilian Pelka (34) - already in 2021 from Leipzig to Munich. Since Tapalovic’s dismissal, only fitness boss Dr. Holger Broich (48) left from Flick’s coaching team. Club icon Hermann Gerland (68) said goodbye shortly after the announcement of Nagelsmann’s commitment.
After all, the rest of the staff still includes many long-time employees - for example game analyst Michael Niemeyer (51), physio Gerry Hoffmann (61) or team manager Kathleen Krüger (37).
Those aforementioned long-time employees seem to have a status that even Nagelsmann cannot touch should he have the desire. Whatever the case, let’s take a look at some of Sport1’s observations from its deep-dive on Nagelsmann’s influence at Säbener Straße.
Pushing Bayern Munich into a new phase of its history
Nagelsmann’s fascination with technology has also prompted the club to invest heavily into upgrades on the training ground. But it is not just objects like a big screen or heart monitoring technology that have been ingrained into Bayern Munich’s training.
With only one “private” training area at the campus, Nagelsmann successfully pushed the club to create another area where his could work with the squad minus any intrusive eyes watching.
No coach has been given this much power at Bayern Munich
No coach since the notoriously high-maintenance Pep Guardiola has been given as much authority as Nagelsmann, per Sport1. Most surprising is Bayern Munich’s willingness to give Nagelsmann a bigger say with transfers:
Nagelsmann is very closely involved in the squad plans. His most important contact next to Salihamidzic: Marco Neppe. The technical director, who came to Bayern in 2014 as Michael Reschke’s assistant, is in daily contact with Nagelsmann and also sits on the bench during games.
He and Salihamidzic played a key role in ensuring that Nagelsmann now has the tactically flexible squad that he wanted, with many different types of players.
Joao Cancelo, the coach’s absolute dream player, arrived in January, with Konrad Laimer to follow in July. The transfers of other top stars such as Matthijs de Ligt or Sadio Mané were also closely coordinated with the coach.
Sport1 also reports that Nagelsmann is sometimes brought into help close deals with transfers. The manager will speak to prospective players and explain his plans for the players to the players. Most significantly, Nagelsmann was credited with helping sway Noussair Mazraoui to Bayern Munich instead of his favored destination, FC Barcelona.
Moreover, Nagelsmann and Lewandowski famously clashed last season and while it was not a “him or me” scenario laid out by Lewandowski, it did strike many as odd that the club watched its top-tier striker exit without having a capable replacement.
While there could have been internal discussions to repair the relationship between the player and coach, there have not been any reports of a summit to see if things could be worked out.
Is Nagelsmann getting too powerful?
One of the primary themes of the Sport1 piece is the growing influence that Nagelsmann has over all things Bayern Munich. Some of that might be from Nagelsmann being empowered — and expected — to not just deliver trophies, but also lead the club into a new era by changing the existing culture to evolve with the times.
The natural question begs asking, is part of that culture change to swap out the old captain (Manuel Neuer) for a new one (Joshua Kimmich)?
“It is normal when a company has been successful for decades, there is always time to change something. That’s not bad at all,” Nagelsmann said during his initial campaign with Bayern Munich.
Per Sport1, the second-year coach has more clout than the captain these days — but, if he does not achieve success on the pitch, not even that dynamic will save the boss:
Nagelsmann has significantly more power than Neuer! However, the coach will also be aware of the dynamics of the business: If he loses (too) many games and – even worse – one or the other player, his empire will crumble too.
If Nagelsmann strips Neuer of his captaincy, it will be a risk — one that could be costly. Neuer has the respect of the squad and if the locker room views his ouster as disrespectful or deceitful, things could turn on the manager quickly.
Regardless of that potential outcome, however, Naglesmann will apparently have the backing and power to do what he pleases. Is it too much authority for one figure at a club like Bayern Munich?
We might soon find out.