The first three rounds in the German Bundesliga had gone quite well for Bayern Munich. The record champions easily won those encounters, prompting many German football pundits to declare that the league’s title race was over before it could begin. After the team drew the next three consecutive Bundesliga matches, the press coverage about the Bavarians suddenly went in the opposite extreme direction. Following this past Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to FC Augsburg, the German sports media declared that the Munich side was in deep crisis mode. Coach Julian Nagelsmann then became a favorite target of the media’s often sensationalistic attacks.
While it is certainly true that this is the first time in over 20 years, that the team failed to win four Bundesliga matches in a row, that is a remarkable record in itself, that was bound to end eventually.
Everyone in and around the club has been spoiled for the last 10 seasons in particular. Bayern has won the league every year since then. Before that, the longest run of consecutive Bundesliga titles has been three!
The Bayern Hot Seat
This is not to deny that the team has problems right now in the league, they certainly do. But it is far too early in the season, to sound the alarm bells so strongly. Particularly going after coach Nagelsmann is clearly the wrong approach. It helps drive up television ratings, newspaper sales and Internet traffic, which is fine, but it does nothing to address the root causes of the issue plaguing Bayern coaches for years now: their inability to control a locker room of prima donnas, who have a tendency to turn against them, when things start to go south.
Ever since the 2016 departure of Pep Guardiola to Manchester City, Bayern has failed to hold on to a coach for longer than three seasons. In the case of Pep’s immediate full-time successors in Munich, particularly the great Carlo Ancelotti, (but also to a certain extent Niko Kovač), they lost their job, due to relinquishing control of the locker room. A club of the statue of the Bavarians cannot allow that to happen over and over again.
The Young Coach
Julian Nagelsmann is a highly capable young coach, for whom the relatively new club leadership of President Herbert Hainer, CEO Oliver Kahn and sporting director Hasan Salihamidžić had expressed high hopes of a longer spell in charge of the team, when he arrived a little over a year ago. Despite the side’s premature Champions League exit last season, we laid out why his first year was still a decent one.
As mentioned in last week’s piece, coaching in the Bundesliga is an extremely difficult job to hold onto. Bayern is one of the worst offenders in German football when it comes to that. Hainer, Kahn and Salihamidžić need to make it clear to the players in particular that they completely support Nagelsmann and that he is not leaving. Otherwise, anarchy will become the norm in the team, as it often had in the past.
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