Der Klassiker is on the horizon, which means Borussia Dortmund will come face-to-face with the league leaders and perennial Bundesliga champions, Bayern Munich.
To be perfectly honest, I don’t follow Bayern’s day-to-day developments. I probably know roughly as much about Bayern as any of you reading this article. Thankfully, as part of the SB Nation community, there are other sites that I can
lazily milk for content engage in a thoughtful exchange of knowledge with.
I reached out to Phillip Quinn at Bavarian Football Works, our SB Nation sister site for Bayern Munich, and asked him a few questions about Bayern Munich. Big thanks to him for his responses!
What grade would you give Julian Nagelsmann so far?
Honestly, I’m quite pleased with what Nagelsmann has been able to do with Bayern so far. Sure, the loss in the Pokal to Gladbach was shocking, but it’s pretty clear that it was an aberration. Nagelsmann, of course, has a lot of expectations on him as the Bayern coach, and some fans have hoisted even more on him as they incorrectly think that the club forced Hansi Flick out in order to get him. There’s still some work to be done, so I would give Nagelsmann a B+. You can’t win the Bundesliga in Hinrunde, but you can lose it. To date, it hasn’t been lost. Compared to last season through the first thirteen games, Bayern have more points and scored more/conceded fewer goals. Feels weird complaining?
Which player has improved the most under Nagelsmann? And who has suffered the most?
While I think a lot of people would be quick to say Sané here, the correct answer is Davies. The system that Nagelsmann is having Bayern play is most-flexible for Davies, allowing him to play high up the field while the other three defenders stay back in a defacto back-three. Quite honestly, I think he’s been Bayern’s best player to date this season, and it feels as though he’s well on his way toward a career year.As for “suffered”, I don’t think he’s actually suffering out there, but it’s Müller. For two reasons... The first is that Sané is playing pinched in instead of on the touchline, and there’s just less space for Müller to operate. It’s not a huge deal, but I think he’s still adjusting to it. The second has to do more with Müller getting called back up to Germany again. Nagelsmann is having to manage his minutes more stringently as all of those games with the DFB are adding up.
How does Kimmich’s absence change Bayern’s plans against BVB?
Without Kimmich (and Sabitzer), Nagelsmann is likely to turn to Tolisso to play alongside Goretzka. Though, I don’t think we should discount the possibility that he tries Musiala at that spot. Losing Kimmich is an extremely tough blow for Bayern though, because he is absolutely the heart of the team whenever he is on the field. I’ve long thought that Tolisso has the skill to play at an elite level, but he seems to get hurt whenever the wind blows. I think he can be a difference maker, but he’ll need to actually prove that on the field. I just really think that everyone should do the right thing and get vaccinated.
What are your expectations for this season?
I have the same expectations as always for Bayern: win the Bundesliga, win the Pokal, and win the UEFA Champions League. But, I’m also a realist and know that they can’t win everything all the time. Whenever I see Bayern fans (especially, newer/younger fans) complaining that they aren’t blowing out teams in some games, I always try to remind them that these teams are good! The Bundesliga is full of good teams who can usually beat anyone on any given day. Bayern’s current run is nothing short of miraculous, and they need to be cherishing every moment.
If you’re interested, I returned the favor and did a Q&A with Bavarian Football Works and
pulled some answers out of my ass thoughtfully answered a few questions about BVB. You can find that article here.