Bayern Munich’s recent 3-2 away loss to Gladbach, despite being a man down the entire game is an event that is enough to send ripples of anguish and frustration through sections of the fanbase. Bayern’s seven draws in the Bundesliga this season has been deemed sufficient to earn coach Julian Nagelsmann the not-so-pleasant ‘Drawlsmann’ nickname, despite still being at the top of the Bundesliga table. However, Bayern’s front office does not seem bothered in the slightest and continues backing their coach with their trust and support.
This is when we should ideally be looking to sack the coach and bring in someone adept like Thomas Tuchel or Zinedine Zidane, amirite? Absolutely not.
Any pros that sacking Nagelsmann might bring to the table will quickly be outweighed by the cons of sacking him, one of which has just been illustrated above. Thomas Tuchel is hoping to bring the ‘back three’ in vogue (GASP) and has a shelf-life of a sack of potatoes, at the end of which things between him and club management inevitably turn sour and start to rot, further blighted by locker-room problems.
Zidane’s coaching resumé only has one club so far: the most successful club in Europe of all time, Real Madrid. Heck, Nagelsmann, for the “young, inexperienced, and inept” coach that he is, has coached more sides in his seven-year-long coaching career. The Frenchman’s coaching stint coincided with Real Madrid’s incredible UCL three-peat. Before we start hailing him as the best thing since sliced bread, I’d like to remind you that he had noodle-haired Ronaldo, only the best Real Madrid squad of all time, and the refs on his side.
Fast forward to the 2020/21 season, when VAR was in full effect and Real Madrid still had an incredible squad (but no noodle-haired Ronaldo this time) and you will notice that Los Blancos went trophyless that season. Now contemplate Bayern going trophyless for a season. I’m pretty sure y’all just sacked him in your heads. And he doesn’t even coach Bayern yet.
The man has no clear coaching blueprint and no specific philosophy. He is known for his team-management skills and personality, but Bayern Munich requires a lot more if they wish to come out of this transitional period as winners. Both the present and the future of the club need to be factored in before making any big decisions.
Hence the 25 million euro acquisition. Nagelsmann wasn’t signed as the stopgap. He IS the project, and he is Bayern’s biggest investment. He should ideally help the club transition to a more youthful side while also making good use of the expertise and quality veterans like Thomas Müller bring to the table. Which is exactly what he has been doing.
Jamal Musiala and Alphonso Davies are flourishing under Nagelsmann. Noussair Mazraoui has been fantastic as a right-back acquisition. João Cancelo and Yann Sommer have slotted perfectly. Müller has been highly productive. Joshua Kimmich looks as good as ever, with Mathys Tel, Arijon Ibrahimovic, and Paul Wanner all making great strides. The defenders are all performing well and display good chemistry.
Of course, individual mistakes happen. Sometimes, the attack simply cannot finish chances, and other times, the defense switches off. These problems plagued Pep Guardiola, Jupp Heynckes, Hansi Flick, and will continue to plague Nagelsmann and the coaches after him. However, his tactics have always been centered around high-pressing dynamic attacking football with a focus on chance creation. Bayern Munich leads Europe’s top five leagues in chances created per 90. Defensively, the club has also allowed the least goals in the Bundesliga.
Most importantly, Bayern Munich is seven wins out of seven in the UCL. These include 2 wins against each Barcelona and Inter Milan and a win against PSG away. Any other coach achieving the same results even in a club like Real Madrid would be praised to the skies. Not the case with Bayern, though. We’ll criticize the coach because we “could’ve scored more goals” and “the game could’ve ended in PSG’s favour.” What matters is that it didn’t.
And PSG wasn’t the only club facing squad issues. Nagelsmann’s striker is Choupo Moting, Manuel Neuer’s season is over, Lucas Hernandez, Bayern’s best center-back, is out with an ACL tear, Noussair Mazraoui and Sadio Mané have both been out for quite a while, and to top it all, add the Toni Tapalovic drama and BILD’s thirst for blood and you get a season in which Bayern would be lucky to win a trophy.
And yet, Bayern is still top of the table in one of the tightest Bundesliga races in recent memory, is brushing aside UCL opposition, and is in pole position to advance to the next round of the Pokal despite having a tough nut to crack in SC Freiburg. Not bad for a fraud, eh?
Like every coach out there, Nagelsmann isn’t perfect. However, he is innovative, exciting, open to accepting criticisms, and unafraid to make changes. He is getting a lot out of this injury-battered squad. Most importantly, the players are backing him with their performances.
My only criticism of Nagelsmann’s coaching thus far would be his recent usage of Thomas Müller, especially in big games. I’m hoping there’s a good reason for that, and that he will use the player more in upcoming fixtures. For context, Müller started almost every game of consequence in the Hinrunde leading up to his hip injury. And I don’t expect that to change. So excuse me for feeling that all these stories about Nagelsmann having something against playing Müller seem absurd.
Bayern Munich can’t follow suit in the sacking culture. It is true that the club loves sacking coaches, and we as Bayern fans are spoiled for success, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t give Notacticsmann sufficient time and support. However, thankfully, we are not in charge of Bayern Munich’s executive decisions. There is a well-qualified board for that.
And they think backing Nagelsmann is the right choice.
What are your thoughts? Is the Bayern board right in backing Nagelsmann? Let us know in the comments!