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Daily Schmankerl: Lothar Matthäus thinks Bayer Leverkusen can challenge Bayern Munich; Thomas Müller happy with squad’s performance; Mathys Tel is committed to Bayern; Christoph Freund hit the ground running; & MORE!

Could Bayer Leverkusen be the one to knock Bayern Munich from its perch?

Bayer 04 Leverkusen v West Ham United - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Marco Steinbrenner/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Matthäus thinks Leverkusen will be strong challenger to Bayern (Sport1)

When it comes to assessing the Bundesliga, most people just point to Bayern Munich toi win the league and then move on.

Some deeper thinkers might refer to Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig as clubs capable of mounting a significant challenge to the Bavarians. Lothar Matthäus, however, think Bayer Leverkusen has a very intriguing roster that could

“Granit Xhaka is the leader of the team,” Matthäus said during an appearance on Sky90.

Matthäus noted that Xhaka would form a “central axis” together with Lukas Hradecky, Jonathan Tah, Florian Wirtz and Victor Boniface.

“These are five players that Bayern Munich might still be looking for, and Leverkusen are already one step ahead: they have their axis,” Matthäus said.

The implication, of course, is that Bayer Leverkusen’s leadership structure is more stable than Bayern Munich’s player council under Thomas Tuchel. The manager has implied that the council could change. Right now, Manuel Neuer, Thomas Müller, Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka, and Kingsley Coman are the primary figures after the roster changes of this summer.

Harry Kane and Matthijs de Ligt are two notable players, who could make their way into the group. De Ligt commented on his place within the squad recently.

“It happens naturally, through personality, minutes and performances. It’s important to have a spine in the team, with a few leaders who lead the way. We’re working on that. The process isn’t over yet. It’s formed through training. Everyone should know their role and perform it optimally,” De Ligt said (as captured by @iMiaSanMia).

Müller likes where Bayern stands heading into week three (Tz)

Bayern Munich star Thomas Müller likes where things stand with his team after two league games.

“If you win, if it still looks reasonably confident, then we have peace for the time being. And of course, in the Supercup it was of course the 360-degree turn. We have big plans, we even lost in our own stadium, but that was two or three weeks ago,” Müller said (as captured by Tz). “And we started the league confidently, so really confident, two wins. Of course, it a bit annoying (against FC Augsburg), maybe with the goal we gave up. We actually wanted to keep the shut out for (Sven Ulreich). But otherwise 4:0, 3:1 is good and it can go on. I think you can already see that we have certain processes in place. You still have to say, maybe the coach has already said it, that the level and the way we play football in training is actually a bit sharper at the moment. We can’t implement it like that in the game yet.”

It is interesting to Müller echo what Thomas Tuchel has said about the squad’s performance in training against each other rather in games against the opposition. Perhaps, things will change this weekend.

Bavarian Podcast Works: Weekend Warm-up Podcast Season 3, Episode 8 (Bavarian Football Works)

So the Champions League draw is official aaaaand ... Bayern Munich will face Manchester United and two others in the 2023 group stage. Okay, that’s being unfair to Copenhagen and Galatasaray, but that really is the first thing you think when you see a group like this.

Beyond that there is the news that João Palinha is on his way over from Fulham (transfer pending) and to finance the deal, Benjamin Pavard is headed to Inter Milan (confirmed) and Ryan Gravenberch is on the verge of a move to Liverpool FC (less than confirmed). Given the 40 minute Zoom time limit for meetings, we had to rush to fit all the topics in this time:

  • What can Bayern Munich expect in the Champions League group stages this year?
  • Do we expect any threat from Man United?
  • How many Bundesliga teams will make it to the next round of the UCL?
  • Is João Palinha really on his way to Bayern Munich ... and for HOW MUCH?
  • Why Ryan Gravenberch never worked out for this club.
  • The final word on the Benjamin Pavard deal and the implications of not getting a replacement.
  • Can Christoph Freund be the guy to turn around Bayern’s failing youth system?

Tel’s agent details player’s commitment to the club (Tz via @iMiaSanMia)

Bayern Munich youngster Mathys Tel has had a good preseason (despite drawing ire from some misguided fans just a few weeks back) and the young Frenchman has moved past the online idiocy.

His agent Gadiri Camara recently spoke to Tz journalists Mano Bonke and Philipp Kessler and explained why he was able to rebound so quickly from a bad situation.

“During the first conversation with Salihamidžić and Neppe, we made it clear that we were not looking for a well-paid contract, but for a home. Mathys has always loved FC Bayern. If you have a winning mentality, you have to love Bayern,” Camara said.

ICYMI: Vidović off to Dinamo Zagreb (

Earlier this week, Bayern Munich youngster Gabriel Vidović left the club on a loan assignment for Dinamo Zagreb.

“Dinamo Zagreb is known for its good academy and also for developing young players at a high level in professional football. We are convinced that Gabriel will find ideal conditions there to take the next steps and to gain match practice in international competition. We are very excited about his further development in Zagreb and will follow it very closely,” said Jochen Sauer, Bayern Munich’s director of youth development.

After a disappointing loan spell at Vitesse last season, Vidović needs a big season. His career at Bayern Munich is likely over, but this is a good opportunity to prove himself and potentially earn a long-term deal elsewhere.

Bavarian Podcast Works — Preview Show: Borussia Mönchengladbach vs. Bayern Munich (Bundesliga)

Bayern Munich plays perennial bogey team Borussia Mönchengladbach in the Bundesliga this weekend. It is the late Saturday game with good reason, with Bayern winless in the last five encounters against Gladbach. In this preview, we discuss Gladbach’s phenomenal record against Bayern and the following:

  • Changes in the Gladbach team since last season
  • How the changes in the team have impacted Gladbach
  • How Gladbach might decide to play against Bayern
  • A possible lineup for Gladbach in light of the injuries
  • Bayern’s injuries and a possible line-up
  • Will the fans see Thomas Müller?
  • How this match might play out
  • How the rest of the Bundesliga teams might fare this weekend including Borussia Dortmund
  • A prediction on Gladbach vs. Bayern

Freund ready to hit the ground running (Sky Sport Austria via @iMiaSanMia)

New Bayern Munich sporting director Christoph Freund said his decision to join the Bavarians was an easy one.

“I spoke to my family and my close friends, but for me it was very quickly clear that I’d do it. I’ve always said that if Bayern contacted me, that would be an absolute dream for me,” Freund told Sky Sport Austria.

One of the things that Freund built his reputation on was his ability to help Red Bull Salzburg identify and develop talent. The new Bayern Munich sporting director does not plan to bring in any of his old players at this point, though.

That’s not in my plans. There are extremely good players in Salzburg with a lot of potential and good character, but whether their next step can be Bayern right away, that’s the question. That’s not high in my agenda. Some will certainly take the next step in the next 6-12 months. So far, no player has moved directly from Salzburg to Bayern - that’s not my first plan,” said Freund.

Regardless, Freund wants to develop his own pipeline of talent on Bayern Munich’s campus.

“Bayern is one of the biggest clubs in the world. The goal is to win the Champions League, the goal is to always be German champions. You need a good mix (of young and established players). Bayern’s second team is in the 4th division. The leap to the first team is big. We have to consider creative ideas and think about other ways on how we can develop youngsters so they can make it and play a role at Bayern,” said Freund. “Thomas Tuchel is one of the best coaches in the world. He’s an exceptional coach and won the Champions League. He can develop players and win titles. He’s a really good coach, and that’s what Bayern needs. I had very good talks with him. I’m looking forward to working with him.”

Hoeneß won’t stay in power forever (Welt via @iMiaSanMia)

Bayern Munich supervisory board member Uli Hoeneß rose back to power at the club over the summer, but he does not plan on staying in place for too long.

“No. Our most important task in the next 2-3 years will be to work with the supervisory board to try again to lead FC Bayern into the future. The structures of the club have recently been lost. There were too many outside advisors involved – we have to get that back on track. FC Bayern must again have people who determine the identity of FC Bayern themselves,” Hoeneß said.

Bavarian Podcast Works — Flagship Show: Season 6, Episode 7 (Bavarian Football Works)

So Bayern Munich have won their second game of the Bundesliga season, with Harry Kane scoring twice and FC Augsburg only managing one. Meanwhile, the situation surrounding Benjamin Pavard continues to baffle fans and the media alike. A shorter episode today compared to previous ones.

In this episode, INNN and Muller_Era discuss the following:

  • A review of the performance versus FC Augsburg, including a rundown of how each player did.
  • The excellent performances of Alphonso Davies, Dayot Upamecano, and Leroy Sane.
  • Is Konrad Laimer in trouble after Goretzka’s recent performances?
  • Why is Harry Kane struggling to get the ball in this system?
  • The curious performance of Thomas Tuchel’s slooooooow system.
  • Why we won’t talk about Thomas Müller.
  • Why is Benjamin Pavard not facing backlash for missing training?
  • Should Bayern Munich get a replacement for him, or keep him for one more season?
  • What’s Thomas Tuchel’s role in all this?

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