It was not always pretty, but Bayern Munich ultimately took care of business against FC Augsburg in a match that was not overly competitive.
Augsburg was, however, just enough of a pain in the butt to pester Bayern Munich into some mistakes and keep the game from being a total walk in the park. Here are some quick hitters on the match:
- Let’s take a look at the lineup, which we knew would feature multiple changes:
- I was a little shocked to see Matthijs de Ligt in the starting XI, but Benjamin Pavard, Leroy Sané, Sadio Mané, Serge Gnabry, and Joao Cancelo were all expected. I thought Ryan Gravenberch would get a start, but Julian Nagelsmann went pretty unconventional with some of the roles he gave players to make it all work.
- Mergim Berisha’s opener for FC Augsburg was a bit of bad luck for Bayern Munich that involved a header flicked backward from Pavard, some sloppy positioning and an overall lack of focus and urgency.
- Otherwise, Pavard had himself a day, huh? After FC Augsburg jumped out to an early lead, Pavard helped Bayern Munich firmly establish itself in the match. His first goal was pretty stunning after Mane made a nice play to send the ball in centrally.
- Cancelo’s opener for Bayern Munich was quite nice, wasn’t it? The Manchester City loanee got things kickstarted for his squad and had a very solid match overall.
- Sane turned in a very good effort and also added a goal. He looked dangerous and seemed to shake off whatever funk he was in. That is a very good sign for Bayern Munich.
- How sweet was that nutmeg by Alphonso Davies in the first half?
- Not everything was great for Bayern Munich, however. De Ligt and Dayot Upamecano looked out of sync for portions of the match, Gnabry looked disengaged, and Musiala was not really overly impactful. Mané was solid, but did go offside two more times.
- All that said, this was a bit of “come down” kind of match for Bayern Munich. The ebbs and flows of a season indicated this would be a choppy game for the Bavarians — and it was.
- Overall, Bayern Munich got its three points and did not have to exert itself too much in doing so. No, the Bavarians were not perfect — far from it — but they gutted through a motivated effort from FC Augsburg during a week where they physically and emotionally spent themselves in knocking off Paris Saint-Germain. As a very wise person once belted out, “You take the good / You take the bad / You take them both and there you have / The facts of life.”
FC Barcelona has reportedly reached out to rumored Bayern Munich transfer target and current Bayer Leverkusen star Florian Wirtz:
Is one of the biggest DFB hopefuls going abroad? Florian Wirtz has successfully returned after recovering from a cruciate ligament tear and immediately played back on the radar of the top European clubs.
According to a report by Spanish Sport , FC Barcelona have already contacted Hans-Joachim Wirtz, the 19-year-old’s father and adviser. According to reports, the family is also quite impressed by the efforts of the Catalans.
But: Wirtz is still under contract with Bayer Leverkusen until 2027. His working paper should not contain an exit clause. The Werkself can therefore hope that the attacking player will stay in the Rhineland at least beyond the coming summer despite Barca interest. “We are interested in fulfilling as much of this term as possible,” said father Hans-Joachim only recently.
I don’t know if FC Barcelona makes a ton of sense for Wirtz at this point and I think he is still at least year (if not more) from being able to seriously consider a move away from Bayer Leverkusen.
Real Madrid might be trying to expedite its plans to acquire Manchester City star Erling Haaland:
Real Madrid had been prepared to wait until 2024 to try sign Erling Haaland from Manchester City but now want to bring that plan forward to this summer as part of a plan to rejuvenate the ageing squad. Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham is also on the wish list.
It remains doubtful that Haaland would want to leave Manchester City so soon, but the former Borussia Dortmund star has a laundry list of potential suitors, but maybe none more serious than Real Madrid.
I still would love to see Haaland wearing a Bayern Munich kit (a pipedream, I know).
What a week for Bayern Munich, huh?
The Bavarians took care of business domestically and in Europe and might have gotten over the hump from being a really good team to a great team in the process.
Let’s take a look at what is on tap for this week’s episode:
- A preview on Bayern Munich’s upcoming Bundesliga match vs. FC Augsburg and why the squad needs to avoid a letdown.
- Some thoughts on Bayern Munich’s massive win over Paris Saint-Germain and what that means moving forward, including the stellar defensive showing, the dominant midfield, and how the attack is finally settling in. All that said, where does this leave Sadio Mané, Leroy Sané, and Serge Gnabry?
- The latest details on the contract situations of Alphonso Davies, Lucas Hernandez, Sané, and Gnabry.
- Bayern Munich might have already made the decision to let Manchester City loanee Joao Cancelo leave at the end of his loan.
In Friday’s Weekend Warm-up we covered the recent news that Bayern Munich was still interested in Tottenham Hotspur star Harry Kane — and also the take from Uli Hoeneß that he does not think it would be a good move.
Now, Sport Bild’s Christian Falk has given his take on the situation in his column for Caught Offside:
Bayern bosses are increasingly doubtful of the prospect of Kane wanting to leave England; they feel he wants to remain in the Premier League. FC Bayern fears his love of home more than any offer from Manchester United – that’s why the club hasn’t contacted the Tottenham star’s management for months. Bayern had lodged its interest with the relevant agents in 2022 and now they’re waiting to see if Kane sends a signal back. So far that hasn’t happened. The longer this situation drags on, we can see officials at Bayern slowly losing their faith in the striker departing the U.K at the end of the season.
I’ve been saying it for months, but until Kane says he wants to move away from England, I just don’t see it happening. Moreover 90Min.com is reporting that Tottenham is about to give Kane a larger role in the decision-making at the club:
Sources have now told 90min that Kane is set to hold talks with chairman Daniel Levy towards the end of this season, with Spurs desperate to convince Kane to stay in N17.
Spurs will involve Kane in the decision making process of hiring a new head coach to ensure he’s completely happy to sign a new deal. Tottenham’s hierarchy are touching base with the current squad over their feelings regarding the job.
Since the end of Pochettino’s five-and-a-half year spell in 2019, Spurs have hired three permanent head coaches in four years - Jose Mourinho, Nuno Espirito Santo and Conte. Former midfielder Ryan Mason, now part of the backroom staff, also took interim charge for the final month of the 2020/21 season.
FC Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong has been linked to Manchester United off-and-on for over a year now. The Dutchman took some time to talk about why he is so focused on his career at Barca.
“I was calm, because I knew I wanted to continue at Barca and I haven’t changed my opinion,” De Jong said. “I had always dreamed of playing for Barca and I want to succeed as a Barca player. And now I’m calm and I want to continue at Barca. I have never won the league. This is my fourth year here and it’s the closest I’ve ever been, but there’s still a long way to go. I want to win this league, it is the main goal we have and we will give everything to achieve it.”
Real Madrid’s Eden Hazard might have no prospects of ever being a factor at the club, but...YOLO...he seems perfectly happy to play out his very lucrative contract:
Despite having never really been in favor since his move to the club in 2019, Eden Hazard intends to stay at Real Madrid right up until the end of his contract in 2024.
(Don’t do it!)
(Seriously...don’t do it!)
(Come one....fight the urge!)
BELGIAN BOUNA SARR!
(Sorry, couldn’t help myself — and I was a huge fan of Hazard at Chelsea FC).
One of my favorite go-to lines for this scenario is The Wire’s Bunk Moreland in talking to Omar Little about a very contentious situation where Bunk was disappointed in Omar...
Bunk: “Makes me sick motherf*cker how far we done fell”
If you want to watch that masterful scene in full, here you go (NSFW):