Lewandowski’s future, defensive plans and making friends – Key first tasks for Nagelsmann at Bayern

Bayern Munich have gotten into the habit of getting their house in order quickly, and 2021 looks no different.

Having already made a deal to sign center-back Dayot Upamecano from RB Leipzig, the Bundesliga leaders have reached a deal to make Julian Nagelsmann their next head coach.

The Leipzig boss, a Bayern Bavarian fan who still tries to prevent his new club from winning the title this season, will succeed Hansi Flick on July 1.

A five-year contract and a reported € 20million fee – the most paid for a coach – is a significant investment from Bayern and shows how much they value Nagelsmann.

The 33-year-old is also not getting behind the wheel of a sinking ship: Bayern have won six trophies in less than two years under Flick and look set to be crowned German champions again.

However, the youngest Bundesliga coach will still have to face a few crucial tasks on his appointment that could go a long way in making or breaking his first term at the helm …

Get on the board

Flick has had few serious issues during a remarkably successful period at the helm, but one notable issue lately has been his relationship with the club’s hierarchy.

His decision to publicly announce this month that he would be leaving at the end of the season infuriated officials given that they had agreed to keep the news quiet. President Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, one of Flick’s biggest allies, even saw fit to issue a statement criticizing the coach.

Flick reportedly misunderstood sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic, with disagreements over transfer goals and general mistrust making the relationship volatile. Salihamidzic himself has come under intense scrutiny, with many fans unhappy that the coach is the only one to leave.

After hitting Bayern’s first target thanks to a sizable expense, Salihamidzic will be almost as desperate to see Nagelsmann succeed as the new man himself. A better working relationship between the coach and the superiors would be a positive way to start.

Repair the defense

Flick has spent much of this campaign trying to solidify a Bayern defense who have conceded 40 Bundesliga goals this season, already eight more than in 2019-20 overall.

Weaknesses at the back were revealed in a DFB-Pokal defeat at the hands of second-tier Holstein Kiel and more brutally during the Champions League quarter-final exit to Paris Saint-Germain.

Bayern’s defense could be very different next season. Upamecano arrives from Leipzig but David Alaba is set to sign for Real Madrid, Jerome Boateng leaves after a decade in Munich and there are still uncertainties surrounding Niklas Sule’s future.

With Bayern supposedly looking for a new right-back, there may well be a new full-back line ahead of Manuel Neuer next season – a line Nagelsmann will need to refine quickly in the pre-season.

Support Lewandowski

As talks over Nagelsmann continued on Monday, Sky Sport reported that “several” European clubs had inquired about the possibility of signing Robert Lewandowski.

Europe’s top scorer in 2020-2021 with 43 goals in all competitions, Lewandowski needs four more in the last three games to tie Gerd Muller’s record of 40 in a single Bundesliga season.

If he matches or surpasses this milestone, and after finally getting his hands on the Champions League last season, the Polish star might be tempted to try his luck elsewhere – and has made it clear previously that Bayern may not be. not be his last club.

Signing a replacement wouldn’t be an easy task, especially in the coronavirus landscape, so Nagelsmann would be wise to make sure Lewandowski thinks Bayern’s goals match his own future.

Ignore the noise

For a coach, learning to deal with criticism is part of Bayern Munich’s territory, more than any club in Germany.

With famous former players in positions of power at the Allianz Arena and other media figures – former Germany captain Lothar Matthaus in chief among them – Bayern coaches will never be far from an opinion or two, whether they succeeded or not (just ask Pep Guardiola).

Matthaus was even reprimanded by former teammate Stefan Effenberg this month for encouraging Nagelsmann to replace Flick, suggesting that such comments only put more pressure on the coaches “it’s not good anymore”.

Flick had actually dealt with the lingering background noise from Bayern rather well, and Nagelsmann will have to do the same: The scrutiny of his performance as the world’s most expensive coach – at such a young age – will be intense.

Blood the young

Leipzig CEO Oliver Mintzlaff particularly praised Nagelsmann for improving individuals and strengthening the collective during his time at the club.

The progress of players like Upamecano, Ibrahima Konate, Dominik Szoboszlai and captain Marcel Sabitzer highlight the positive impact Nagelsmann’s methods can have on young talent.

He will be under pressure to produce similar results at Bayern. Alphonso Davies is already an elite left-back at 20, Jamal Musiala is established in the senior squad at 18 and hopes are high for young center-back Tanguy Nianzou.

Given Bayern’s pedigree for developing world stars, Nagelsmann will be under pressure to keep the production line at full speed.

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