Like many of you, when the word dropped from Fabrizio Romano on Thursday that Bayern Munich was discussing the termination of Julian Nagelsmann, I was flabbergasted.
When what seemed like minutes later, it was confirmed that Bayern Munich had parted ways with its manager...something was amiss.
Nothing felt right about the situation; from the timing, to how it leaked out, to how the team is performing at the time it happened. This was the most bizarrely timed sacking I have seen in any sport.
While I personally didn’t agree with everything that Nagelsmann did during his tenure, I can say confidently that I thought he was doing a stellar job overall— and his record at the club reflects that.
To give you the timeline on how I’ve felt since Nagelsmann was brought onboard, let me refresh things:
- Bitterness about the handling of Hansi Flick.
- Excitement about the hiring of Julian Nagelsmann.
- Frustration (but still supporting him) while he tinkered too much during the 2021/22 season.
- Excitement about his adaptability to work with the players he has on the roster.
- Disappointment that Nagelsmann fell into the trap of benching of key players when the attack was actually playing well.
- Excitement about Nagelsmann re-thinking how the team was struggling and re-injecting life into.
Then, it all fell apart in what seemed like a matter of minutes just when it looked like he had a complete handle on this team (the loss to Bayer Leverkusen notwithstanding).
Standing in the spotlight waiting to fill Nagelsmann’s not yet cool seat was...Thomas Tuchel. A man so smart — and so grating — that he often has an immediate effect on his teams before eventually grinding them down into a divisive state.
It happens...every time.
For as quirky and particular as Nagelsmann was, he did have the respect of his players (well, maybe all of them except, perhaps, Robert Lewandowski) and had the team cued up as one of the favorites to win the Bundesliga, the DFB-Pokal, and the Champions League.
It made no sense — based on what we know. If something else happened behind the scenes, we certainly have not been privy to it (at least at the time this was written).
Throughout his tenure, I will say this about Nagelsmann: — right or wrong — he made decisions based on what he thought is right or on what he thinks will work.
He has not been perfect, but when there was a failure, he displayed a spirit and resilience that has allowed him to use that big brain to fix things.
Nagelsmann, who sometimes has caused me more frustration than is probably necessary, is exactly what you want in this new era of coaches, though. He uses a mix of gut instinct and analytics to make his decisions, he is brave with his tactics and his squad selections, and he has shown the great ability to both adjust on the fly and after analysis.
Nagelsmann is not afraid to make a mistake — and also not too proud to correct one.
Will we be saying the same thing about the notoriously stubborn and abrasive Tuchel in March of 2025 — or will the next flavor-of-the-month coach already be sharpening his own knife to help cut ol’ Tommy loose?
Tuchel treble time?
This will be short, but given his ability to quickly make an impact and carry a team to great heights on a short-term basis, it would not be shocking if Bayern Munich ends up winning a treble under Thomas Tuchel.
However, it would also not be a shock to watch the team unravel and completely flame out with a leadership change this late into the season.
Gravenberch sticking around?
One of the ongoing themes of this week was that Liverpool FC was going to make a play for Bayern Munich midfielder Ryan Gravenberch.
The Dutch midfielder has scuffled to find consistent playing time in Bavaria and been annoyed at times with his lack of minutes. However, despite the reemergence of a potential midfield logjam for 2023/24, Sport Bild’s Christian Falk declared that Gravenberch will not be sold.
It seems as if Bayern Munich is convinced that it can find some playing time for the young Dutchman. There have been some rumblings that Bayern Munich actually sees Gravenberch as more of an attacking midfielder rather than in a deeper role like a No. 6 or a No. 8.
The coaching change might have muddled things even more for the Dutchman, who has to win over a new coach and still battle through fierce competition at both spots:
- Attacking midfield: Jamal Musiala, Thomas Muller, Leroy Sané, Sadio Mané, Serge Gnabry, Paul Wanner (probably being loaned out), and Arijon Ibrahimovic.
- Central midfield: Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka, Konrad Laimer (expected to arrive from RB Leipzig this summer, but things could now change quite drastically with Nagelsmann sacked). Marcel Sabitzer (on loan and likely to leave the club).
How this all ends up for Gravenberch now is anyone’s guess, but he has some good options whether he stays or goes.
Bavarian Podcast Works: Weekend Warm-up Podcast Season 2, Episode 37
Bayern Munich might be on a break, but BFW has plenty of hot topics — and maybe some hot takes — to chatter about.
Join us for this week’s Weekend Warm-up podcast, where we have a ton of good discussion points on the agenda, including:
- Why Bayern Munich should extend the contract of Benjamin Pavard,
- Germany’s squad selections and why this was a necessity for Hansi Flick.
- FC Barcelona might sell Robert Lewandowski...would you bring him back?
- The acquisition of Sadio Mané was heralded during the summer, but there were always some reasons to think it would not be a perfect fit. Has he been successful? Is it fair to assess him at this point? Would you make the move again?
Song of the Week: “Astronaut” by G. Love & Special Sauce
I’m going off the grid here with a Philly group that had local notoriety, though I don’t know exactly how far-and-wide they reached globally. Released in 2004, “Astronaut” might have been G. Love & Special Sauce’s biggest hit.
I was driving home from work one day, listening to the old Alt-Rock station in Philly (at the time, I think it was 100.3) and this hit me in a good way. Hopefully you enjoy a little Philly flavor for your Friday:
Bavarian Podcast Works: Rant edition — Bayern Munich sack Julian Nagelsmann? And hired Thomas Tuchel!? (Explicit)
So this came out of nowhere and we just HAD to react to it. Bayern Munich have decided to sack Julian Nagelsmann with immediate effect, and former Chelsea and BVB coach Thomas Tuchel is set to be named his successor. This is an insane set of developments, especially given the timing during an international break and with the game vs Borussia Dortmund coming right after.
In this special edition reaction (or rant) episode, INNN and Schnitzel talk about the following:
- The strange timing of the decision.
- Arguing back and forth about Nagelsmann’s record and the decision to sack him.
- Can Thomas Tuchel get Bayern on track before facing BVB and Manchester City?
- What criteria does Tuchel need to fulfill to be a success at Bayern?
- What happens to the board if Tuchel can’t hack it?
- And arguments. Lots and lots of arguments. Especially about the DFB Pokal for some reason.
Season 3, Episode 4
The latest drop from The Mandalorian brought the focus more and more on Grogu (long-term that might not be good for the show, but that is a topic for another time) and we learned a lot about his past...so let’s dive in:
- This episode can be broken down into two major parts — a deep dive in Grogu’s past (and his escape from Order 66 — when Clone Troopers turn on the Jedi they were tasked with protecting) and the kidnapping of Ragnar Vizsla by a raptor (for lack of a better term).
- Seeing the Mandalorian training exercises was pretty cool. It was all good for everyone until Grogu got the upper hand on Ragnar, which caused the boy to sulk away. That would lead to the raptor snatching Ragnar up, which set up a formulaic rescue mission that was really the primary plotline.
- For Grogu’s flashback, we start to see how he ended up such a wanted figure.
- The deep cut for this episode was the emergence of Ahmed Best. Best is mostly know for voicing disastrous Star Wars character Jar-Jar Binks. I don’t follow the greater, expanded universe, but apparently there was a video game where he portrayed Jedi Master Kelleran Beq — which is the character we see being the hero in Grogu’s flashback.
Returning to the world of Star Wars as a Jedi during a certain Clone Wars-era flashback, Ahmed Best was a highlight of this week's episode of The Mandalorian. https://t.co/ZSdGNx9oUB pic.twitter.com/3HjMlJHEXi— IGN (@IGN) March 22, 2023
- During all of this, Grogu also gets some Mandalorian armor.
- I will say the effects with Grogu are pretty awful.
- Anyway, eventually the group of Mandalorians manage to rescue Ragnar and take down raptor — which gets eaten by a bigger monster in river. Now, though, there are three baby raptors in need of a new momma — and the group of Mandalorians will raise them (I know...).
- Episode 3 took a turn to set up things for later in the season in the season and some folks were really bitter about it. One thing about The Mandalorian, though, is that it typically has storylines pay off. While Episode 4 did not necessarily help the storyline progress, it surely is playing a role for lining up how the plot will eventually evolve.
- Overall, it was a good episode and the show continues to succeed despite being overly reliant on using a formula. In this day and age — with how people expect shows to be written — this is a massive success. It is not easy to give people a format they can see on the standard channels, while watching “prestige television.”
- Overall Bundesliga record: 114-110
- Last week’s Bundesliga record: 3-6
- DFL-Supercup record: 1-0
- DFB-Pokal record: 3-0
- Champions League record: 5-3
- World Cup overall record: 38-25
- WWU overall record: 161-139
- Guest predictions: 7-5