An Insane Idea

Hello and welcome back to another rant. It is almost 9:00 PM Arizona time on April 18, 2023. Bayern Munich plays Manchester City in 15 hours. Realistically, Bayern's chances of advancing in the Champions League are shot. FiveThirtyEight currently gives Bayern a 38% chance of winning the match and a 6% chance of winning the tie. This piece is not about that match. This piece is about the future. You may recall this author writing another mildly delusional article shortly after the sacking of Julian Nagelsmann was reported in the press. I had high hopes for Thomas Tuchel at that point; he is a proven winner and (based on his tendency to continue the tactics of his predecessors during his first season) seemed unlikely to make any catastrophic blunders, even if the board may have been better suited to keeping the experiment alive.

That period of the Tuchel era is long gone.

Bayern are out of the cup. Barring an absolute miracle, we will be out of the Champions League within the next 24 hours. That leaves the Bundesliga. While some fans believe that the league has become a 'worthless' trophy considering our run of dominance, winning the league — assuming the catastrophe of the Rückrunde does not become a cataclysm — will still be an achievement worth celebrating. Think back to last season. Bayern crashed out of the Champions League to Villareal at the quarterfinal stage and were blown out of the Pokal by Borussia Mönchengladbach. We celebrated winning the league anyway, and this season should be no different.

Winning the league, however, should not mask, hide, or conceal the massive changes that need to be made at the club from top to bottom.

'FC Hollywood' is not a good name for a club to have. Yes, it signifies glitz and glamour, but it just as equally signifies the unnecessary drama that has plagued Bayern in the past. Bayern's goal should not be applying Mia san Mia to the concept of FC Hollywood, that is, to say "we have been like this for decades and it is who we are; we are going to continue the melodrama whenever we are not sailing smoothly." Frankly, Bayern have been doing this since the departure of Pep Guardiola: since his departure, not a single Bayern manager has lasted two full calendar years. The Mia san Mia mentality is one of this club's greatest strengths and one of the reasons I fell in love with Bayern. It should not be used as an excuse for the propagation of the concepts of FC Hollwood.

A mass change in personnel is clearly imminent. Ryan Gravenberch and Marcel Sabitzer are on the way out, and Konrad Laimer is on his way in. There are rumors that João Cancelo will play ahead of Leon Goretzka in central midfield tomorrow alongside Joshua Kimmich (who I remain less than fully sold on). If Tuchel continues playing him exclusively as a fullback, Benjamin Pavard may choose to leave as well. All of these on top of multiple attacking players (Serge Gnabry, Sadio Mané) may leave, to say nothing of the looming storm at the goalkeeper position. With so much turnover, the board absolutely cannot afford to get replacement signings wrong. Big names are not necessarily a requirement, rather players with the right mentality who fit the system should be chosen.

Whether or not Brazzo hits a home run with transfers this summer, a long look must be taken at the upper hierarchy of the club. If this summer's transfers do not pan out, that could be the end of his time as sporting director. However, that would likely be a decision coming from Oliver Kahn, who has made high-profile error after high-profile error as CEO. Events such as the 2021 Annual General Meeting, the Campus salary investigation, and the sacking of Nagelsmann all come to mind. The position should be instead given to someone who has proven experience running an organization at the fore of its industry (i.e. in the same vein as Herbert Hainer). While it is not necessarily the 'Bayern way' to use a non-former player in a position like this, it seems necessary if true cultural changes regarding the knee-jerk reactions and drama of FC Hollywood are to take place.

Finally, there is a level in between the players and upper management. The head coach. Tuchel is an adept manager, his time at each club he has been at has proved this. His manner of appointment, however, seems to have severely undermined his start to the job, suggesting that he will not be a permanent solution — a notion backed up by the team's performances since his appointment killing off all feelings of goodwill. That is okay, Nagelsmann was clearly not the long-term solution either, and neither were Hansi Flick or Niko Kovač or Jupp Heycknes (that time) or Willy Sagnol or Carlo Ancelotti. It is also okay for Tuchel, as he will find another job despite not being the long-term solution anywhere since his days at Mainz. So then what should the solution be? Spoiler alert: it should not be looking around for the next shiny toy (i.e. Jürgen Klopp, Xabi Alonso), no matter how shiny it may be. No, the Insane Idea is this:

Upon the inevitable departure of Tuchel within the next 1.5 years, Thomas Müller should be made player-manager.

This writer is of the opinion that Müller is one of the most intelligent players to ever play the game. His intelligence is what has made his role as the Raumdeuter so effective in the face of his pure talent or technical ability being less than some. He sees things developing that others simply cannot. He understands where to press, when to drop back, and where to move on and off the ball. Most importantly, he embodies everything good about Mia san Mia while continuing to plug away if he finds himself out of form or amidst a crisis at the club. Moreover, as he has been a part of Bayern for longer than just about anyone currently with the club, it is likely that he understands what to do to keep each member of the squad happy as well as how to set them up for success, and as player-manager he would still be able to play and provide his intelligence directly as well.

Bayern have made plenty of mistakes recently. The last thing this great club needs is for the imminent upheaval to be exacerbated by a poor managerial appointment doomed to fail from the start. Choose to let the manager fully implement his ideas. Choose the man who bleeds Bayern more than anyone. Choose Thomas Müller.

This has been another rant, thanks for reading if you made it this far.

The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bavarian Football Works readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of BFW editors or staff. Visit our Fanpost section at the top of the page.