Sadio Mane, Joao Cancelo and a Bayern Munich squad built to win it all
Who needs a best XI when you have such a good squad? With the arrival of Joao Cancelo and the return of Sadio Mane, Bayern Munich look well set for the business end of the 2022/23 season.
bundesliga.com casts an eye over the multiple options available to Julian Nagelsmann as Bayern target league, cup and UEFA Champions League glory.
It’s not so long ago that Bayern and Nagelsmann were experiencing a troubling period. Many other clubs would welcome a “problem” spell that saw them still top of the league and extending an unbeaten run in the Bundesliga to 11 matches. For a team like Bayern, however, three successive draws to start the year was a cause for concern.
The previous year had ended badly for the record German champions too, with the news that goalkeeper Manuel Neuer – their captain and a 10-time Bundesliga winner – would miss the rest of the season with a broken leg.
Bayern, though, quickly addressed personnel issues and have seen results improve. Those three consecutive draws have been followed by five wins from six matches in all competitions – with the defeat at Borussia Mönchengladbach largely down to an eighth-minute red card for Dayot Upamecano.
Nagelsmann now has a confident team and – crucially – a squad that looks capable of flourishing during a frantic end to the season.
Losing a netminder as experienced and influential as Neuer would be a blow to any club. Bayern reacted quickly, however, by bringing in a top-quality replacement.
Yann Sommer had already shown his talent against the 10-in-a-row champions earlier in the campaign, making a Bundesliga-record 19 saves in Gladbach’s 1-1 draw in Munich last August.
Report: Bayern Munich officially out on Gladbach’s Marcus Thuram
According to Sport Bild journalist Christian Falk, Bayern Munich is going to take a pass on Borussia Mönchengladbach attacker Marcus Thuram, who was linked to the Bavarian club several times in recent months.
Falk’s report was captured by @iMiaSanMia and revealed that even though Thuram will be available for free, Bayern Munich will move on from a potential pursuit of the Frenchman:
Bayern decided not to get involved in the race for Marcus Thuram, despite the striker being available on a free transfer this summer.
Bayern Munich: Sadio Mane focussing on small steps to get full fitness
The news is not overly surprising. Bayern Munich has mostly been rumored to have interest in Tottenham Hotspur star Harry Kane or a contract extension with Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, but there has been nothing concrete to report on either front of late.
All of the Kane news is speculative and the latest on Choupo-Moting indicated that he wants to stay at Bayern Munich, but has targeted numbers for years and money. It remains to be seen if the two sides can get aligned.
It was a very productive weekend for Bayern Munich. They got back to winning ways in the Bundesliga after losing to Borussia Monchengladbach last weekend. Die Roten delivered a near-perfect performance against Union Berlin on Sunday to earn all three points.
First-half goals from Thomas Muller, Jamal Musiala, and Kingsley Coman were enough for Bayern to defeat Union Berlin. It was a very impressive performance considering Die Roten’s inconsistency in the Bundesliga. Moreover, Union Berlin has been one of the success stories of the Bundesliga this season as they sit third, three points behind Die Roten.
Along with a convincing performance and result, Die Roten also had positive news on the injury front this weekend. Kingsley Coman returned to the starting lineup after missing the game against Gladbach due to a minor knock. Meanwhile, Sadio Mane also made his first appearance in three months after recovering from a serious injury.
Mane injured his tibia during a 6-1 win against Werder Bremen at the start of November. Unfortunately, he missed the World Cup for Senegal and underwent surgery to repair the damage at the end of November. While talking to the media on Sunday (via TZ), Mane insisted that he is likely to manage the workload in the next few games to achieve complete fitness.
“It’s important to take the whole thing step by step. I played 30 minutes today, maybe next game I can play 45 minutes or an hour.”
Bayern and Julian Nagelsmann have several options in the attack, so easing Mane into the team makes a lot of sense. The Senegalese forward has a big role to play in the next couple of months, so Die Roten needs to avoid a relapse in the process of him getting completely fit.
Sadio Mane enjoyed a very good start to his debut season at Bayern, scoring goals across several competitions. The Senegalese forward suffered dip in performances, but still managed to contribute with 11 goals across all competitions. His versatility in the final third gives great tactical flexibility to Julian Nagelsmann.
In an ideal scenario, Sadio Mane comes on early in the second half against Stuttgart. He can eventually play an hour or so in the second leg of the Champions League round of 16 against Paris Saint-Germain. The French club will visit Allianz Arena on March 8. Mane’s knack for scoring goals in big games will be very useful against PSG.
Bayern Munich 3-0 Union Berlin: Birthday joy for Musiala as champions crush Bundesliga pretenders
Jamal Musiala celebrated turning 20 with his 11th goal of the Bundesliga season as Bayern Munich returned to top spot by crushing title rivals Union Berlin 3-0 in wintry Bavaria.
A dusting of snow covered the Allianz Arena pitch at kick-off, and more fell during the game, but there was nothing flaky about the hosts.
Goals from Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Kingsley Coman and Musiala meant they led 3-0 at half-time against a team who began the game on the same points total as Bayern.
The outcome meant Bayern nudged ahead again in the title race, going above Borussia Dortmund on goal difference, with surprise interlopers Union now trailing the top two by three points.
The plot thickens on the future for Bayern Munich loanee Alexander Nübel
After taking himself out of the running for return to Bayern Munich this winter, Alexander Nübel now might have forced his exit out of AS Monaco unintentionally.
After a series of iffy performances, AS Monaco has reportedly decided to move on from the German goalkeeper per L’Equipe (as captured by Get French Football News):
L’Équipe are reporting that, whilst Alexander Nübel (26) continues to be publicly defended by AS Monaco, the Principality club are looking to replace the on-loan Bayern Munich goalkeeper next season.
Monaco’s insistence on retaining Nübel next season has seemingly wilted in light of a series of unconvincing appearances in big games, notably during the club’s Europa League exit at the hands of Bayer Leverkusen. The club continues to publically defend Nübel, but according to L’Équipe, Monaco are already looking in the market for potential replacements.
What all of this means for Nübel’s future remains to be seen. At Bayern Munich next season, the club could be looking at a goalkeeper stable featuring Manuel Neuer, Yann Sommer, Sven Ulreich, and now — maybe — Nübel.
Bayern Munich 3-0 Union Berlin: Initial reactions and observations
Initial reactions and observations
It wasn’t an easy game but it was definitely a simple one as Bayern Munich didn’t need anything special to beat this Union Berlin team. A fine cross from Kingsley Coman and two moments of Thomas Muller magic were all it took. Despite the snow slowing them down and a dogged resistance from Urs Fischer’s men, Bayern Munich showed their quality by dominating the game from start to finish.
Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka had another excellent outing in midfield together. Kimmich really shines as a proper #6 playing in front of a back four.
If only Alphonso Davies could finish … imagine the potential.
Union Berlin injured maybe half their team during this game. It might become a turning point for their season.
Bayern Munich vs Union Berlin: Lineups, team news, injuries, Thomas Muller returns, and more!
It’s not quite Der Klassiker, but Bayern Munich vs Union Berlin is shaping up to be one of the biggest games of the season so far. Having lost to Gladbach last weekend, the Bavarians come into the game level on points with the east Berliners and also Borussia Dortmund, which means a loss could put the team as low as third place by the end of the matchday.
Already under pressure due to mediocre results 2023, Julian Nagelsmann needs a win on Sunday to shore up Bayern’s place atop the Bundesliga and keep BVB at bay.
Sadio Mane and Noussair Mazraoui have both returned to team training, but it’s still too early for them to participate in a game. Dayot Upamecano, meanwhile, is suspended due to the red card he got vs Gladbach. Choupo-Moting also had a slight neck problem, but he and Kingsley Coman should both be available for the game, albeit doubtful.
So, what kind of lineup will we see? Well, after much criticism over the week, Julian Nagelsmann announced that Thomas Muller would definitely be in the starting XI vs Union Berlin. Based on how the coach operates, we can assume that Muller will play as the striker vs Union, with Jamal Musiala behind him at attacking midfield. Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry are the likely winger candidates, with Kingsley Coman and Sadio Mane as the first options off the bench.
In midfield, a double pivot of Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich seems like the most likely outcome, based on the personnel available. Ryan Gravenberch probably isn’t ready to play against a team like Union Berlin just year, and Goretzka and Kimmich have been in good form since the former returned to the lineup vs PSG.
The defense is the main source of questions. Given that Union will likely play defensively, Julian Nagelsmann may go for an overly offensive back four setup with Joao Cancelo and Alphonso Davies as wing-backs. Benjamin Pavard and Matthijs de Ligt could simply reprise their roles as center-backs in such a setup, with Yann Sommer in goal.
After leaving Bayern Munich, Robert Lewandowski’s dream move turns to a nightmare as FC Barcelona crash out of the Europa League
When Robert Lewandowski moved from Bayern Munich to FC Barcelona last summer, he said he was doing it for a new challenge. Well maybe he got a little more than he bargained for. As of writing, Barca have been knocked out of the UEFA Europa League by Manchester United on a 4-3 aggregate scoreline. In his eight years at Bayern, Lewy never once dropped out of the Champions League before the Round of 16.
Barca started the game well, controlling possession and eventually scoring off an (admittedly soft) penalty, converted by Lewandowski. That would be the extent of Lewandowski’s contribution on the night as the Polish hitman found Man United’s defense far too much to overcome. He was not helped by the poor quality of Barca’s midfield — with Pedri and Gavi both out, there was no one to provide him service. A guy like Thomas Muller doesn’t just play at any old club.
With this latest setback, maybe Lewandowski will be rethinking his decision to leave Bayern Munich. Leon Goretzka’s words last October, when Barca were about to drop out of the CL after failing to beat Inter Milan, will be ringing in his ears right now. “Lewy was very spoiled at Bayern,” said the midfielder. “Always progressing to at least the Round of 16.”
Now he may realize the value he’s lost by switching to the wrong club at this stage of his career. Instead of playing at the highest level against the likes of Mbappe, Messi, and Neymar, he’s being knocked out of Europe’s second-tier competition by the likes of Rashford and Fred. It’s a massive downgrade.
Oh well, at least he got his “dream move” I guess. Good job, Lewy.