Speaking to TNT Sports (as captured by @iMiaSanMia), Manchester United coach Erik ten Hag gave a very frank and open assessment of Bayern Munch star Alphonso Davies just prior to the huge Champions League showdown between the historic clubs.
“[Alphonso] Davies is not a great defender. (Facundo) Pellistri can match Davies with his dribbling,” Ten Hag said.
On a day where Bayern Munich nearly ripped defeat from the jaws of victory, Ten Hag turned out to be correct in some ways — really, Ten Hag was on-point about Bayern Munich’s entire backline, not just Davies.
The Bavarians ultimately emerged with a 4-3 victory based on the power of their attack, but Manchester United kept itself in the match because of some shambolic defensive play from Davies and his colleagues on the backline — Dayot Upamecano, Kim Min-jae, and Konrad Laimer.
After a strong first half, Sven Ulreich was also unsteady at times in the second half, which just added to what could have been a disastrous collapse if not for some late attacking heroics.
Right now, Tuchel has three lockdown starters on the backline in Upamecano, Min-jae, and Davies. None of whom, has been outrageously good this year. Laimer recently stepped into the starting role for Noussair Mazraoui, but Laimer’s latest showing will like result in Mazraoui taking back the reins this weekend.
But what of Min-jae and Upamecano? Well, Matthijs de Ligt is champing at the bit to regain his starting job and should get a longer look this weekend as well. Bayern Munich boss Thomas Tuchel, however, has show a reluctance to really settle into a rotation and, instead, seems more inclined to pick his group of starters and ride them into the ground.
For a guy, who did a lot of complaining about having a small squad after the summer transfer window ended, Tuchel has not shown a great willingness to mix it up that much so far this season.
As for Davies, his performance against United was not great and did display some aspects of his game that have been in “plateau mode” for roughly three seasons now. While he has taken better care of the ball in recent weeks, the Canadian defensive positioning is still a sore point at times and can cause a lot of scrambling on the backline.
A dynamic talent, Davies is still the same player he was when he thrust himself on to the scene with a string of excellent performances back in the 2019/20 season. From there, though, the 22-year-old has not made many changes to his game — and the opposition is taking advantage of that. He needs to improve, but the good thing for Bayern Munich fans is that there is no reason to think that he will not or cannot make the adjustments in his game.
Surely, Davies has nothing but time to work on his game and get better. Like his defensive teammates, however, an expedited plan for how to do that would likely make everyone feel a little bit better about things on the backline over the course of this season.
Bavarian Podcast Works — Weekend Warm-up Podcast: Season 3, Episode 11
With the English week making things a complete jumble for the podcast schedule, Bavarian Podcast Works has, once again, pushed the Preview Show into the Weekend Warm-up, so listeners are not overloaded with our content.
Given all of that, this is what we have on tape for this episode:
- A preview of Bayern Munich vs. VfL Bochum in the Bundesliga, including some thoughts on how the lineup might change and what the score might be.
- Examining why Thomas Tuchel’s lack of a rotation is a bad idea for the long-term prospects for this season.
- Harry Kane is a nicer, less bitter version of Robert Lewandowski
- We are seeing the best of Leroy Sané, aren’t we?
Nagelsmann hired at Germany coach...now what?
The formal announcement dropped that Julian Nagelsmann was going to be the next coach for the German national team....for the next 10 months.
It was one of those “good news/bad news” announcements.
Nagelsmann was likely the only impactful candidate, but — as feared — he might not have a long-term desire to stick with the gig. For a team that has been unstable for over five years now, this situation could present some challenges.
Surely, Germany will not want to go out and get embarrassed on its home soil during the EURO 2024 competition, but this is certainly a risky gambit for the DFB.
“Julian Nagelsmann was our preferred candidate as national coach when the search began. He is not only an absolute football expert, but has already proven in all his positions - at a very young age for a head coach - that he can motivate and inspire a team and the entire environment,” said DFB sporting director Rudi Völler in a statement released by the DFB. “His fire for football is noticeable and contagious - just like with his two assistant coaches Benjamin Glück and Sandro Wagner, whose great energy I was recently able to experience myself. Julian Nagelsmann will be with his qualities and his personality will play a crucial role in ensuring that we will all experience a great European Championship in our own country in the summer.”
With friendlies occurring in just a few weeks, Nagelsmann is going to have to put together his roster, decide on a formation and tactics (for the consummate tinkerer, this could be a challenge), and somehow build a team that is capable of contention for next summer’s EUROS.
For his part, Nagelsmann is towing the company line with his take on the short-term contract.
“For me it is very important that the focus is on the Euros. In my mindset and that of the DFB, we want to play a good home tournament. A second important point in the exchange was the trust in our cooperation. I’m a good example - I had a long contract (at Bayern). The work must create the trust, not the paper. If we have a successful tournament, then nothing is ruled out from my side. What’s written in a contract doesn’t always apply. I’ve just experienced that (at Bayern),” Nagelsmann said (as captured by @iMiaSanMia).
Is a 10-month contract with Julian Nagelsmann the right move for the German national team?
This poll is closed
Yes - It was the only move.
Yes - This is a short-term project until a long-term solution can be hired.
No - This sounds...like a disaster.
No - Germany should have hired a permanent coach.
If you listened to the WWU Podcast, you heard some of what will be covered here, but Winning Time was cancelled by HBO and while there were many viable criticisms of the show, it became the latest example of how HBO/Max — and other streaming platforms — just have no idea what they are doing with content.
Whether you go as far back as The Wire, Deadwood, and Carnivale at HBO or, more recently, G.L.O.W. or Mindhunter with Netflix, too often, shows are rushed to the finish line or just hacked prematurely.
Certainly, costs play a role in these decisions. As shows become popular, everyone involved wants to get paid requisitely for their time and effort. However, in the last 25 years, almost no series on a pay service — unless they are grandfathered in like The Sopranos or Game of Thrones — get the full runway that they request. Even in those two cases, the finish line was pushed up a bit causing dissatisfaction with the results from big factions within each show’s respective fanbase.
Winning Time was not perfect by any means. It was...okay. The final few episodes were likely the most captivating of the series and the deeper look into the Lakers-Celtics rivalry (and especially the motivations of the key players involved) was well-done. If you were a big fan of the show, however, you had to feel extremely letdown (likely again) by HBO.
How are fans of any shows supposed to feel like it is a worthwhile investment these days?
Another random notes:
- As expected, I could not muster the mental strength to watch The Walking Dead: Dead City or The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon. The original three off-shoots with the universe of The Walking Dead were, well, pretty awful, and the show itself could barely drag itself across the finish line. Something internally is just stopping me from investing any more time into that universe, even though — at one point — it was appointment viewing for me. When I see a TWD show, I am instantly the dejected Popeye’s worker meme:
Song of the Week: “Over the Hills and Far Away” by Led Zeppelin
Sometimes, you just wake up and it is a Zeppelin kind of day. Enjoy:
Bayern Munich is the better, deeper, more talented side and should be able to fight through what should be a very compact VfL Bochum set-up.
Bayern Munich will have to be both patient and aggressive at the same time, but the feeling here is that the talent discrepancy is just too much and the Bavarians will eventually walk away with a convincing victory.
The biggest intrigue, of course, will be with Thomas Tuchel picks for his starting XI.
Prediction: Bayern Munich 3-0 VfL Bochum
Other Bundesliga predictions include:
- VfB Stuttgart 3-1 SV Darmstadt 98
- FC Augsburg 2-1 Mainz 05
- Borussia Mönchengladbach 1-3 RB Leipzig
- Borussia Dortmund 3-2 VfL Wolfsburg
- Union Berlin 2-0 Hoffenheim
- Werder Bremen 1-1 FC Köln
- Bayer Leverkusen 3-1 Heidenheim
- Eintracht Frankfurt 1-2 SC Freiburg
- Bundesliga Last Week: 2-7
- Bundesliga Total: 19-17
- DFB-Pokal Total: N/A
- Champions League Total: 1-0
- DFL-Supercup: 0-1
- Total: 20-18