Bayern Munich opens the season in early August against Eintracht Frankfurt; it is time to look forward and think about some patterns that might play out. We will do this in the final installment of this series; you can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here.
First, let us refresh our memories and look at the first ten Bundesliga fixtures:
- Eintracht Frankfurt
- VfL Wolfsburg
- VfL Bochum
- Borussia Mönchengladbach
- Union Berlin
- VfB Stuttgart
- Bayer Leverkusen
- Borussia Dortmund
- SC Freiburg
There is a game against Viktoria Köln sandwiched in there as well. Now, there are multiple fixtures that could be difficult but Nagelsmann is expected to pick up wins against Augsburg, Wolfsburg, Stuttgart and Bochum. All four struggled immensely last season and the match against Wolfsburg comes early enough to ensure that Niko Kovac hasn’t set die Wolfe up properly yet. That’s 12 points that should be on the board.
Frankfurt on opening day might prove to be difficult but Bayern should earn a point there. The match against Gladbach can be put aside because this fixture is proof that bogey teams exist. I would expect Bayern to pick up one point from these two fixtures.
From the remaining fixtures (Leverkusen, Dortmund, Freiburg and Union), Bayern can pick up 12 points but, to temper expectations a bit, Bayern should pick up 8 points ideally. 21 from the first 10 fixtures is the least Bayern should be able to amass. Anything below that can lead to questions being asked of the manager really fast.
Imagine match-day 10 has ended and Bayern has picked up less than 21 points; if the team has played well and amassed close to 21 points but less than that tally (much like how Hansi Flick lost to both Gladbach and Leverkusen despite playing both teams off the park), this is acceptable.
This is my way of saying that 21 points and some swagger is the least expected; anything below that might set off the alarm bells at Sabener Strasse.
New signings having a tough time at Bayern is not a new phenomenon. Go back to the starting line-up for the 2020 Champions League final and you will see that the only “new” player is Alphonso Davies and that is only because he initially switched between the senior team and Bayern II after being signed. Everyone else had at least one full season of action under their belt with the senior side. New signings rarely adjust within a season with the likes of established players such as Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben being exceptions rather than the rule.
That is why I do not expect Matthijs de Ligt, Ryan Gravenberch, Mathys Tel et al to have good seasons. I think Sadio Mané will do well but that is because he is one of those exceptional, established stars. Recent somewhat high-profile signings such as Marcel Sabitzer and Leroy Sané struggled immensely in their first seasons.
Last season, the old guard didn’t exactly have a great time either. Joshua Kimmich had a subpar season while Leon Goretzka had an injury prone one. Thomas Müller had a good season but somewhat struggled in front of goal. I could go on; the reinforcements have to be good enough to make up for the gaps revealed last season, especially with the departure of two steady players in Robert Lewandowski and Niklas Süle. If the new players do not start off well (or at least decently) and if the signings from last season in Dayot Upamecano and Sabitzer do not step up, convincing wins might be hard to come by.
That completes the pre-season doom and gloom! I am of course hoping for better but these are some of my essential worries ahead of the season. As always, thank you for reading!