After a rather polarizing, if not disappointing, season in Bavaria Munich, we at BFW decided to assess how people feel about next season. Are you optimistic that Julian Nagelsmann will bring Bayern to greatness? Or are you afraid that this will mark the beginning of a long and painful dark age? Let’s see.
Short answer, I am one of those pessimistic people. At first I was hoping for Nagelsmann and it looked like my hopes would get an answer after a pretty decent Hinrunde. But in the new year, I was disappointed more often than I would have liked. Especially in the last few weeks, when we went out Villarreal and limping our way to the Bundesliga. Starting in April, we only got four games out of a possible eight. That’s not good enough for Bayern, especially just one season after we won six times.
What makes me even more pessimistic is that Nagelsmann seems to be showing no signs of changing things. If nothing else, these past two games have been the perfect time to try something new. Even if he hadn’t used the young, it would have been the right time to experiment with some new approaches, especially since it was clear that the old didn’t work too well. Instead, he was left with the same annoying hybrid back-three, porous defense, weak midfield and wasteful attack that characterized Back. The result? Stuttgart were threatened with defeat and a draw with the poor team of Mainz and relegation. Do I think we will beat Wolfsburg next week? Of course not. Nagelsmann used to be a flexible, innovative coach, but now he is as stubborn as a mule. If he was stubborn because his system actually works, that would be a different story, but that’s not the case, is it?
To make matters worse, the teams around us are getting stronger. Borussia Dortmund invest in their defense and attack. RB Leipzig is currently the best team in Germany in terms of form. And we? We are fighting to keep the players we have, let alone sign new ones. Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry could leave us, and I’m not sure if we’ll sign adequate replacements for anyone. At this pace, I strongly doubt that we will be able to win the Bundesliga next season. Regarding Champions Leaguedo you really think we can beat those Liverpool, Real Madridand Manchester City to play like this?
Of course, I could be as wrong as the next person, and I could completely eat up my words at this time next year. I will gladly accept that I was wrong if so. But for now, I guess we have the worst season in Bayern since 2010/11. Prepare, it will be a long, uneven ride.
Yes, I am optimistic, but I will still say a lot of things that I believe may not lead you to the conclusion that I hope for next season:
- Bayern Munich had a good season in the 2021/22 season, but it was worse.
- Julian Nagelsmann has done some good things as a manager, but he has some worrying strategies / tactics that may not always be the best for this list.
- Nagelsmann has been extremely good at managing vets for most of this season, but he also became the last Bayern manager who could not find a good way to integrate young players.
- The list – if he moves to 3-4-2-1 – will have problems next season as three Thomas Müller, Jamal Musiala, Leroy Sane, Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry will always be on the bench. Now I think he has to look at this and stick 4-2-3-1 because even with Mazraoui he would play with one of the Dayot Upamecans, Benjamin Pavard or Tanguy Nianzou instead of Müller, Musiale, Sane, Coman, and Gnabry.
- In terms of defense, there are problems – how Nagelsmann mitigates the consequences that are likely to determine whether he stays.
Although Nagelsmann did a good job of limiting any Miami Nights problems with veterans, he had to endure some problems. Robert Lewandowski, Müller, Gnabry and Sane – reportedly – had problems with the boss for a variety of reasons. Depending on how he manages the staff and what formation he leads, he could have many expensive talents sitting on the bench all the time. It almost never ends well at Bayern. The victims are (among others) Carlo Ancelotti and Niko Kovač. I’m not a solid person “only 4-2-3-1”; I believe allowing a coach to run the system he wants, but with the way the list is configured, that could create problems.
I like Nagelsmann. I think he can be successful. I also think it’s possible he can’t find a way to curb all of this. There is no guarantee of success for him. Hopefully he won’t have to tread the waters of Lewy unhappy all season, but even with all that, I’m optimistic he can succeed, win double and reach the Champions League semi-finals next season. I want Nagelsmann to be successful. I only see some potential red flags that can get him off track even if he does his job well.
This was mostly a direct response to much of what C. Smith and Teddy Son said, so it will be set in a similar format.
- Nagelsmann struggled a little. So what? He is young, he has excellent results. But you can’t maintain excellence day in and day out. We adore Flick for how good he was in a short period of time. We do exactly the same thing with Jupp Heynckes. But guess what? Jupp struggled many times, he was also fired. It’s too early to throw Nagelsmann into the fire after a year.
- There is an old saying that says “Rome was not built in one day.” And as for Nagelsmann, he came and did a relatively good job as a young coach. Of course there were fights. Bayern is not RB Leipzig. This is an absolutely big step forward. He has done a lot of good and has a lot to improve.
- I really like this team. We have exceptional talent. Dayot Upamecano is a kid and will only get better. He is only 23 years old. Virgil van Dijk was 26 when he moved to Liverpool. We have three key players over the age of 30. Many are just at their peak, or about too many. Better football is coming.
- Finally, I grew up in Chicago. My favorite teams were the Bears and Cubs. I know what it feels like to lose and what it feels like to break the championship drought of 49 and 108 years and what it’s like to cheer for absolutely horrible teams. FC Bayern is not there. Bayern will continue to compete day in and day out with the best of the best. The only question I have is this: “For every reason Nags can fail, I see a reason why he succeeds. I sincerely believe Nags will be a truly amazing coach. The question is will it be with Bayern now or is Bayern too big a step, a step ahead?
I’m a guy who is naturally optimistic; and so, I see reasons for optimism despite the fact that I don’t think Julian Nagelsmann is the man for the job at the moment. Let me start with the negative – next season we won’t win much. And now, positively:
- The situation with JN could go any way. If things go well, he is a capable coach who will interfere too much and at least we will hit the goals of the season. If not, Bayern is learning a valuable lesson about hiring coaches from non-traditional German clubs. Bayern are also learning to keep valuable assets like Hansi Flick.
- If Robert Lewandowski leaves, Bayern will have to make an adjustment that would have to happen sooner than expected. It’s good to keep going. If not, Bayern have theirs gazilion goals for another season.
- Bayern make a huge transfer because it happens when Bayern feel they need a change (Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben, Javi Martinez). That transfer pays off; great things are happening. By the way, things are working pretty well already during the season and Bayern are not making a transfer that would be for the eye.
- No matter what happens, Bayern Munich remains an institution of football stability and strives to return to its best versions.
I don’t think Nagelsmann has the ability to force older players to buy a formation or system that hasn’t been effective. I don’t think he’s ready to run a big traditional club yet. I think it will be if he steps back and thinks. I saw him thinking at the end of the season when he was talking about too many changes. If he learns effectively, he will be ready. Otherwise he would lose the job he had always wanted pretty quickly.
And I am optimistic, with one caveat, that it is still early.
Reasons for optimism are the quality of our core talent and the quality of our management. Our management is consistent, prudent and always engaged in long-term thinking. So far, their management of the transition from the Schweinsteiger era to the Kimmich era has gone remarkably well. I expect that more quality players will come to the club this summer who should add depth and flexibility to the team. Brazzo has already extended Coman and Müller, and I expect to lock in Manuel Neuer as well.
Even if Lewandowski leaves (and hopefully won’t), there’s enough veteran talent on the team that can offer a lot of leadership. There’s a nice age difference in the team, with young guys looking ready to take on or challenge initial roles, and even younger guys who could be added to the list next year. As long as we could build a little more around our veteran core and see a little more development than Upe, the talent base is there. The only position I think we need to improve, and the board is chasing, is the vocal defense leader / organizer. I don’t know who they have in mind.
The jury is still on Nagelsmann, but he seems like an intelligent man, committed to the team and ready to temper his enthusiasm. He said he would play on the higher line next year and would interfere a little less in his formation. If he has time to grow and adapt to the new environment and the different players available to him, I don’t see why he can’t progress. We’re probably looking at the end of one era and there’s no reason why Julian can’t be the man to successfully take us to the next.