When news broke that Bayern Munich really were axing manager Julian Nagelsmann, we at Bavarian Football Works took a hasty look at our pipeline of posts and had to hastily un-schedule about five of them. One of them, from an interview days before the firing by club president Herbert Hainer, was extra jarring.
“Julian (Nagelsmann) is a top coach who proved against Paris [Saint-Germain] that he is tactically and strategically excellent at the highest European level,” Hainer had told kicker (via @iMiaSanMia). “We documented that with a five-year contract, because we want to build something with him. You can see a clear progress in these one and a half years. Julian is doing very well. The coaching discussion in between came from outside, we didn’t start it.”
Well, they sure finished it, ending Nagelsmann’s tenure in spectacular fashion while chalking it up to the results of the Rückrunde — which include repeated dropped points in the Bundesliga, to be sure, but also stellar victories in the Champions League.
Nagelsmann’s 2-0 win over Paris Saint-Germain might have been his finest performance as Bayern coach to date. And yet in the wake of it all, the bosses looked at the progress of the team, and the upcoming fixtures against mighty Manchester City and league-leading Borussia Dortmund, and decided the best way to ensure success was to tear it all up right now.
The original version of this post added context to Hainer’s comments by noting that at FC Bayern, managers aren’t so cheaply disposable as at other clubs in Europe. Oops. So much for that. It turns out that for all the talk of evolution and steady steering, hard results are still king. And so is the institution.
“FC Bayern is renewable energy, a source with enormous power for decades,” Hainer had concluded in the kicker interview. “We keep reinventing ourselves by constantly challenging ourselves at the highest level and never being satisfied. It’s always about evolving. And of course the 11th title in a row has to be our goal.”
What this has turned out to mean: the bosses have utter confidence in the resources of the club, which is one of Europe’s biggest. And for the manager? The margins are fine, indeed. There’s always another guy out there.
More recently, Hainer circled back to his statements and clarified them:
Herbert Hainer on his statement a few days ago (Nagelsmann is a long-term project): "That was the week after the Augsburg game, 4 days before Leverkusen. I wished we would do it with Julian, he's a top coach. But football is a results sport" [@MagentaTV via @_kochmaximilian] pic.twitter.com/vilWwLSG0H— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) March 25, 2023
Hainer added: “When results aren’t there, you have to look at the situation analytically. Leverkusen made us rethink.”
Can’t get enough of the Nagelsmann story? Then check out our reaction podcast! It gets pretty spicy at times. Listen to it below or at this link.