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Bayern Munich 5-3 Augsburg: Initial reactions and observations

Initial reactions and observations
Such a sloppy game by Bayern Munich. It’s obviously a sign of the hangover from the PSG game, but when you go 4-1 up you shouldn’t let the opponent score another two times. That being said, imagine Mbappe and Messi watching this and wondering what happened.
Joao Cancelo had an excellent outing. This will pour more fuel on the fire and give Nagelsmann more selection headaches going forward.
Did the EPL not have an offside rule or something? Sadio Mane is offside literally every other attack.
If you want more coverage of the match, check out our Postgame Show on Spotify or below!

Bayern Munich vs Augsburg: Lineups, team news, chances for Cancelo, Gnabry, Tel, and more!

Having dispatched Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League during midweek, a triumphant but tired Bayern Munich return to Bundesliga action against one of the few teams to have a positive record against them this season. In FC Augsburg, Julian Nagelsmann faces a test of his squad’s depth and his ability to utilize it. How will he fare?

Team news
No serious injuries to report, but the coach informed the media that certain players were tired from their midweek exertions. These included Thomas Muller, Leon Goretzka, Matthijs de Ligt, and Kingsley Coman. We can assume they’ll all be given a rest. Meanwhile Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is out with a back problem. With all these players needing a breather, Julian Nagelsmann will likely field a radically different starting XI from what we’ve become used to in these last few games.

Mathys Tel might finally get a Bundesliga start at the top of the lineup. It’s a huge opportunity for the youngster, who has already scored five goals this season (four in the league). Jamal Musiala, who is also fit, will likely slot into Thomas Muller’s position at the center of attacking midfield. Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry are long overdue for starts, and they’ll probably be on the wings.

In midfield, no one can keep out Joshua Kimmich, but he’ll be likely paired with Ryan Gravenberch instead of Leon Goretzka this time. The Dutchman needs to show he’s ready for these moments, and a defensive opponent like Augsburg will be a good opportunity to show off his flair and dynamism in midfield. Hopefully he’s grateful for the chance.

The back line will certainly change, though it’s not clear by how much. Will Alphonso Davies be rested? He certainly deserves to be, but his stamina is also top tier so he may not need it. Nagelsmann did not single him out in the press conference either way.

Right now, we’ll assume that Benjamin Pavard will come in for Matthijs de Ligt, and the backline will consist of Davies, Upamecano, Pavard, and finally Joao Cancelo. The Portugeuse right-back has been guaranteed a start by the coach, and his pinpoint crosses may be crucial to breaking down a stout Augsburg defense in the absence of Choupo-Moting and Muller.

Yann Sommer, as usual, is expected in goal. Here’s what the lineup could look like:

Matthijs de Ligt has impressed his Bayern Munich teammates

Matthijs de Ligt has so far lived up to his billing as Bayern Munich’s most expensive transfer for the season, shelling out around 70 million for the ex-Juventus defender. De Ligt has since then established himself as the Bavarians’ starting center back alongside Dayot Upamecano. Recent performances suggest that everyone at the club is liking him more and more.

Kerry Hau from Sport1 (via @iMiaSanMia) reported that De Ligt’s mentality, will to win, and defensive leadership has endeared him to the people at the club. Not only that, he also regularly communicates with his fellow defenders in German instead of his native Dutch.

The former Ajax man is also in contention to join the team council alongside Thomas Müller, Joshua Kimmich, and others. Considering that De Ligt was Ajax’s captain in the Dutch Eredivisie and the Champions League (aged 18 and 19, respectively), taking charge is something that the Dutchman is used to.

‘He’s not training as we envisaged’ – Bayern Munich chief explains why Joao Cancelo hasn’t been starting

Joao Cancelo lost his place in the Bayern Munich side due to his performances in training and in matches.

That is the assessment of Bayern Sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic, who commented on Cancelo’s omission from the starting line-up in their Champions League last-16 second leg win over Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday.

Bayern Munich’s Thomas Muller compares Leo Messi to Cristiano Ronaldo, says that Messi can’t carry PSG on his own

Cancelo started his first four games for Bayern since moving on loan from Manchester City, but has played just 18 minutes across the last three games and has started on the bench for four games in succession. He came off the bench against PSG to set up the tie’s third goal, but was brought back down to earth after the game when Salihamidzic spoke to the media.

ALSO READ: Pep Guardiola will see how far ‘soft’ Man City have come this season vs Crystal Palace

Julian Nagelsmann had praised Cancelo’s replacement, Josip Stanisic, calling the Croatian ‘exceptional’ and a key part of their game plan that successfully kept Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe quiet.

And Salihamidzic echoed his manager’s comments when he said: “He was outstanding. I’m very enthused about him as he’s a young player from our academy.”

Speaking to the media after eliminating PSG from the Champions League, Bayern Munich captain and Man of the Match winner Thomas Muller was asked about his excellent record against Leo Messi at the top level of football. Comparing him to Cristiano Ronaldo, the 33-year-old was respectful of the Argentinian mega-star’s achievements but realistic about the challenges he faces at a club like Paris Saint-Germain.

His quotes to kicker journalist Georg Holzner were captured by the ever-reliable @iMiaSanMia, reproduced below:

“Messi’s individual performance at the World Cup was amazing,” continued Muller. “He carried the whole squad. It’s not so easy to play at a team like PSG. It’s difficult to get a really good team balance.”

It was not an easy game for the Argentinian as he struggled to break down Bayern Munich on the flank and got easily separated from Kylian Mbappe. Julian Nagelsmann and his team did a great job of keeping Messi isolated and prevented the PSG midfield from supplying him with any kind of service. Meanwhile, when Messi got the ball, Muller himself was often in the way of passes meant for a PSG teammate.

Overall, this is another black mark in Messi’s personal record against Thomas Muller, a player so stylistically different from him that the two may as well play another sport. Football is a funny game, where two personalities that would otherwise never intersect somehow find themselves constantly pitted against each other in a competitive environment.

Now watch as Ronaldo fan pages take that quote out of context and re-post it for the next 1,000 years. Thank you for keeping Messi stans on their toes, Thomas.

Daily Schmankerl: Bayern Munich, Arsenal to battle for Juventus star Dusan Valahovic?; Matthijs de Ligt, Alphonso Davies earn more accolades; Manchester City setting up Josko Gvardiol move; Bayern not shopping Ryan Gravenberch; & MORE!

This is, well, something.

According to this report, Bayern Munich is planning to use Marcel Sabitzer as bait to lure Juventus into a (play dramatic music)…SWAP DEAL for striker Dusan Vlahovic, who also happens to be a target for Arsenal FC.

Ah…the swap deal. One of the favorite types of rumors we see here at the Daily Schmankerl. Let’s dig into the details:

Bayern are looking at a potential deal for Juventus striker Vlahovic, who has been linked with a move to Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal. Italian news outlet CMW have claimed that Bayern plan to offer Marcel Sabitzer to Juventus in a deal to bring Vlahovic to the Allianz Arena.

Midfielder Sabitzer joined Manchester United on loan from Bayern in the January transfer window. Sabitzer is scheduled to return to the Bavarian giants at the end of the season. Now, Bayern’s reported plan regarding Vlahovic will come as a blow for Arsenal. The Gunners have been linked with a move for the Serbia international striker.

There are a couple of reasons why this makes sense on certain levels:

Bayern is still looking for its No. 9 of the future.
Juventus has interest in Sabitzer.
Vlahovic could come at a reduced rate because of Juventus’ major financial mess.
However, it remains to be seen exactly what type of fee the Serie A power would be seeking for Vlahovic. Bayern Munich is still very cost-conscious and seems to be planning for a bigger 2024 summer transfer window splurge than 2023’s.

That said — as the club proved last summer with Matthijs de Ligt — if the right player becomes available, Bayern Munich will dip into its bank account to get a deal done.

Daily Schmankerl: Despite reports, don’t expect Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane or Juventus star Dusan Vlahovic in a Bayern Munich kit; Chelsea planning massive sell off — where will Mason Mount end up?; Matthijs de Ligt lauded; and MORE!

With the signing of Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting last week, Bayern Munich seems to have settled on its striker for next season. With Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane considered to be unattainable, it would have been normal to think that the Bavarians might also look at Juventus star Dusan Vlahovic.

Not so fast my friend.

Despite still having some interest in Vlahovic, a move looks very doubtful — even if the report below states otherwise:

Juventus wants to keep Dusan Vlahovic with them beyond this season, but the striker is a target for Bayern Munich. The Germans have not replaced Robert Lewandowski since the Pole left the club and see the Serbian as one of the options.

Vlahovic could be a very good fit for Bayern Munich, but unless Juventus puts him on the discount rack, it seems like another club could be more willing to buck up for him during the summer transfer window.

In related news, Bayern Munich sporting director Hasan “Brazzo” Salihamidžic thoroughly denied that the club has interested in Kane:

This bothers Juve, who will prefer to keep their goal-scorer with them for the future and they would be happy about the latest development.

A report on Tuttojuve reveals the striker is not the first-choice target of the German club. It claims Bayern has Harry Kane as their first choice and will try their best to add the Englishman to their squad. However, if they cannot sign the Tottenham man, they will look to buy Vlahovic from Juve.

Julian Nagelsmann explains why Bayern Munich benched João Cancelo

Two players were notably on the bench in Bayern Munich’s 2-1 win over VfB Stuttgart on Saturday, which served also as the German Rekordmeister’s final tune-up game before concluding their Champions League knockout tie against Paris Saint-Germain. Both Benjamin Pavard and João Cancelo were excluded from Julian Nagelsmann’s starting XI.

Pavard has a one-game suspension to serve in the Champions League, so this was an opportunity for Josip Stanišic to get match practice in his place. However, the young Croatian defender’s inclusion over Manchester City loanee Cancelo could be an intriguing preview of how the Bavarians will welcome Paris on March 8.

“He’s handling the situation well,” Nagelsmann said after the game on Cancelo’s benching (via @iMiaSanMia). “I don’t have any impression that he’s breaking off. Stanišic is a bit more defensive and João has never played right center-back in a back 3.”

So: was that a back three? And will Bayern persist in such a setup for a second time against PSG? Some have scored Bayern’s lineup against Stuttgart as a 4-2-3-1, and though the formation numbers don’t really matter, Bayern do show distinctions when they roll out a true back four — as they have before, with Cancelo and Alphonso Davies as full-backs.

In this case, how the manager himself views the tactics is most revealing. With Stanišic as a wide center-back who occasionally ventures forward, it was Kingsley Coman who won the wing-back spot over Cancelo. It mirrors the crucial half-time substitution Nagelsmann made in the first leg against PSG, when Cancelo came off in order for Coman to provide more width in forward positions from the right. That tactical adjustment led to the game’s only goal, and Bayern’s slim 1-0 advantage heading into the second leg.

Nagelsmann’s top-choice XI for Paris is taking shape, then: with Alphonso Davies and Coman as wing-backs, Jamal Musiala and Thomas Müller as tens, and a three-man backline. It looks like Stanišic will get his chance to replicate his outstanding international performance from last year against Kylian Mbappé.

As for Cancelo, he’ll have to patiently wait his turn.

Looks like Nagelsmann has learned what makes Bayern Munich tick.

After Bayern Munich managed to see out a nervy 2-1 win over VfB Stuttgart on Saturday, Julian Nagelsmann was asked a key question: will Thomas Muller start against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League? In case you’re wondering why this is such a big deal, the coach’s decision to bench Muller in the first leg of the Round of 16 tie in Paris was met with a fair amount of criticism.

While Bayern came away from that game with a goal and a win, many observers and analysts noted that the team seemed stunted in attack, and could’ve done more with in the 1st half where Paris played without Kylian Mbappe. Nagelsmann’s explanation for leaving Muller out of the lineup was met with some skepticism.

Then, against Gladbach, Muller started but was subbed off early after Dayot Upamecano received a red card. This prompted several more questions about the 33-year-old’s place in the team and how the coach actually sees him. As always, when Thomas Muller gets benched, Bayern Munich fans start to panic a little.

Now, two games later and on the back of several great performances, it looks like the Raumdeuter is finally going to be a permanent fixture on Julian Nagelsmann’s teams. Here’s what he said after the game:

This is big news because Muller has been on fire for Bayern Munich in 2023 so far. He has 2 goals and 5 assists in just 458 minutes, which comes out to 1.38 goal contributions per 90 minutes. That’s a stellar ratio and is the kind of quality you need in the Champions League.

Let’s hope the rest of the coach’s lineup is equally promising.

Stuttgart vs Bayern Munich: Halftime observations and analysis

Halftime observations and analysis
Bayern Munich have found the going tough in this game, mainly thanks to Stuttgart’s defensive discipline and pressing. There has been very little time and space for the forwards in the box.
Leon Goretzka is not doing the same amount of defensive work he did vs Union Berlin.
Jamal Musiala and Alphonso Davies’ linkup play on the left flank has been sublime.
The strikers have lacked service today.
Matthijs de Ligt is responsible for +2 in goal difference today. Goal line clearance and goal from him. Effective at both ends.

Bayern Munich faces defensive puzzle against Stuttgart, PSG

ayern Munich coach Julian Nagelsmann must solve a defensive riddle ahead of Saturday’s Bundesliga match against VfB Stuttgart and next week’s Champions League clash against Paris Saint Germain.

His best defender currently, in-form Benjamin Pavard, is suspended for the Round of 16 match against the French side next week after his red card in the first leg in Paris where Bayern won 1-0.

His replacement next week would likely be fellow France international Dayot Upamecano, back from his one-match league suspension last week.

Nagelsmann said he could end up using Upamecano on Saturday against Stuttgart despite Pavard’s current form in order to give him match practice ahead of Wednesday.

“This is a decision we will take tomorrow,” Nagelsmann told a news conference on Friday when asked about who would play against Stuttgart.

“Obviously Benji is in outstanding form and we want to and have to win the league game against Stuttgart. Looking at it isolated he has to play… but there is the issue of his suspension for Wednesday.”

The Bavarians’ rocky start to the year has seen their lead in the Bundesliga evaporate and they are currently only ahead on goal difference from second-placed Borussia Dortmund, which also has 46 points.

“Benji would understand it if he would not play (on Saturday) based on the rhythm necessary (also for Wednesday) but on the other hand it’s primarily about winning a Bundesliga game,” said the coach.

Bayern goes into Wednesday’s Champions League clash with its 1-0 advantage but while PSG striker Kylian Mbappe only played a substitute role due to a minor injury, he will start in the return leg.

“For Wednesday we need a different solution (than Pavard) that could and will go by the name of Upamecano. His speed and power would help against Mbappe,” Nagelsmann said.

“Apart from Alphonso (Davies) he is the one player who can keep up with that speed. Maybe not the entire time but he is a very fast player. It is an interesting consideration… and we will need to decide.”

Report: Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry in danger at Bayern Munich

According to a report from BILD, as captured by @iMiaSanMia, Bayern Munich players Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sane have uncertain futures at the club. Bayern are said to be monitoring their progress “very closely”, despite the duo being regular starters under coach Julian Nagelsmann. Per the report, because the two are near the top of the list of Bayern Munich’s top earners, the club expects top performances from them.

Should neither Sane or Gnabry live up to those expectations, it would represent a big fall from grace for the duo. Bayern worked very hard to bring both to the club in the first place; in particular, they spent some €50m to bring Sane from Manchester City and were originally willing to break the bank for him, potentially up to 100m. The two had become the successors to legends Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, also inheriting their number 10 and 7 shirts. Clearly, Bayern have placed enormous faith in the duo.

Serge Gnabry received a contract extension just last summer, which tied the former Arsenal player to the club until 2026. Sane’s contract, meanwhile, still runs until 2025. With just two years left on Sane’s contract, if the club is not fully convinced by the former Manchester City man, he could be leaving Bayern. BILD says that if neither player can show consistent performances, a sale would “no longer [be] completely unthinkable if a club would offer a big fee.”

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