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What to expect from Julian Nagelsmann’s Bayern Munich

A look at what we could expect from Bayern…

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what to expect from julian nagelsmanns bayern munich
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It’s hard to describe just how good Hansi Flick’s reign at Bayern Munich has been.

The German was appointed interim head coach in November 2019 as Die Roten were seemingly collapsing in front of the world’s eyes. By the summer of 2020 he’d made them European champions and by February 2021 he’d conquered the world – not a bad job, eh?

But the Bavarian giants are coming to the end of the sadly short-lived Flick era. Joachim Low’s former right-hand man recently announced he’d be stepping down as Bayern boss after this season, with the Bundesliga title all but mathematically confirmed.

Hans-Dieter Flick
Hansi Flick won every trophy available to him in his first season as Bayern Munich manager | Alexander Scheuber/Getty Images

So attention turned to his successor. And, in true Bayern Munich style, the next best alternative in the whole of Germany was swiftly snapped up and given the job. It was recently announced that RB Leipzig manager Julian Nagelsmann would be occupying the hot seat at the Allianz Arena from next season.

So what can we expect from a Nagelsmann-led Bayern?

Die Roten have had little difficulty in promoting youth, but what is noticeable is that fringe players don’t get a lot of minutes under Flick. Tanguy Nianzou has only played 113 minutes of Bundesliga football this campaign while Joshua Zirkzee, Christopher Scott and Josip Stanisic haven’t even hit 100.

While Nagelsmann, like Flick, isn’t the biggest fan of squad rotation, it must be noted that the 33-year old has an excellent track record of cultivating and developing young players. Dayot Upamecano (who has already announced his switch to the Allianz Arena), Timo Werner, Christopher Nkunku, Angelino and Nordi Mukiele – just to name a few – have all thrived under Nagelsmann’s leadership.

Of course, those players were given the opportunity because they’re what Nagelsmann had to work with. However, with the possibility of a switch in formation and system, it could well be that some established Bayern favourites may have to adapt to convince their new manager – potentially leaving the door open to youth.

Tanguy Nianzou
The highly-rated and versatile Tanguy Nianzou has just 113 minutes in the Bundesliga this campaign | Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

If a switch in shape happens upon Nagelsmann’s arrival, it may not heavily affect forwards, though.

Without Werner in their ranks, Leipzig have had to change their build-up play drastically this campaign. Nagelsamnn sides of previous years would be patient on the ball and rarely pierce through their opposition, eventually finding an out ball over the top to the energetic Werner, who would inevitably have been waiting on the last defender’s shoulder.

This campaign has been more of a struggle for goals. Without the current Chelsea man, Leipzig are more partial to finding quick, precise forward balls through their counter parts’ lines courtesy of fluidity (which the likes of Thomas Muller, Jamal Musiala and Serge Gnabry are more than capable of). The ball finds itself either into channels for wide men to create from or into and around the 18-yard box where precise, intricate and devastating link-up play opens up goal-scoring opportunities – all sounds a bit like Flick’s Bayern, doesn’t it?.

While that tactic has only led to Leipzig notching 55 goals thus far (second fewest in the Bundesliga’s top five), we all know how well Robert Lewandowski and co work that way – their 86 goals in 31 league games this season is proof enough.

Thomas Mueller
Thomas Muller’s ability to roam and find space can suit Nagelsmann’s plans | Pool/Getty Images

Where things may really change, however, is at the back. Flick’s side have been prone to individual errors and lapses in concentration which, although ultimately haven’t hindered their title charge, have led to Die Roten shipping a whopping 40 in the Bundesliga thus far – as well as crucial goals against Paris Saint Germain in the Champions League quarter-final which could have been avoided.

For comparison, Leipzig have let in just 25 in their 31 games so far (comfortably the best in the league). As well as strong collective structure, a large part of this has come down to the three Nagelsmann has deployed at the back – something he could adopt at the Allianz Arena to combat Bayern’s leaky defence.

The departures of David Alaba and Jerome Boateng will allow Upamecano to fill in immediately at the back, regardless of formation. Lucas Hernandez would no doubt take up a role to the left of the current Leipzig man seamlessly, but there is question over Benjamin Pavard. His creative impact on Bayern could be too great to ignore for Nagelsmann, meaning using him at wing back – a position Alphonso Davies might as well have been created for on the left – may be more effective.

Should there be a switch to three in defence, the function of the wing backs will be integral. While fluidity in central areas (from players such as Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka and Muller) will break down defensive lines, Davies and Pavard (or whoever it may be on the right) could become two of the most potent creative and attacking forces in Europe.

In Leipzig’s current system, athletic central players and a holding midfielder – which would rotate between Kimmich and Goretzka, as is the case currently – allows Angelino and Mukiele to venture forward without the pressure of tracking back so vigorously throughout a game. Indeed, Angelino’s average position over the course of this campaign is higher up the pitch than any other Leipzig player, which has allowed him to rack up an astounding 17 goal contributions across all competitions this season.

Of course, it’s nearly impossible to predict what a new manager will bring to a club.

Nagelsmann has used so many different systems in his young, yet so fascinatingly successful, career which so often actually change during the course of 90 minutes. And, with such a plethora of talent at his disposal, he could opt for something entirely different and innovative at the Allianz Arena.

But whatever Nagelsmann chooses to do, there’s no doubt Bayern will be an exciting, frightening, fast-as-lightning powerhouse full of goals and glory under him – and we’re here for it.

Source: 90 Mins

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