The machine runs when it matters: FC Bayern’s Supercup triumph in Dortmund shows that Julian Nagelsmann basically doesn’t have to do much differently than Hansi Flick. And that Niklas Süle is still a very good central defender.
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From BVB’s point of view it can be stated (once more) that the black and yellow need reinforcement for the right side of the defense.
Three theses on the Supercup 2021.
1. The tried and tested works at FC Bayern: It doesn’t (yet) need a Nagelsmann revolution
Second competitive game, first title: Sure, it’s just the Supercup, and of course, Julian Nagelsmann reaped some of the fruits of Hansi Flick’s work on Tuesday evening, but the 3-1 at Borussia Dortmund is allowed for the new Bayern coach can definitely be booked as a personal triumph.
His key to this triumph is as simple as it is atypical for someone who was presented as a kind of innovator and revolutionary: Nagelsmann does not get too brainy, he does not want too much new too quickly – and does his team after a grueling 2020/21 season so a big favor.
So far there has been no trace of the basic order often practiced in Hoffenheim and Leipzig with a three-man or five-man defense chain, Nagelsmann relies on the 4-2-3-1, which has been tried and tested for years, and does not experiment with personnel either. He doesn’t have to. The axis stands and works, especially in the big games: behind Manuel Neuer holds everything there is to keep, in midfield Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka form the reliable centerpiece and at the front line Robert Lewandowski runs around Thomas with the help of his “assistants” Müller continues like clockwork.
So there is no reason for Nagelsmann to reinvent FC Bayern by the bend and break. Certainly: He has to bring new tactical elements into the Munich game in the medium to long term, and in terms of personnel he also has to pay more attention to promoting young players who can follow in the footsteps of the veterans. He’s already doing that, as the example of Josip Stanisic shows. But as long as Neuer, Lewandowski and Co. perform as well as they did against BVB, there is no need for a major tactical or a major personal revolution on Säbener Strasse, at least this season.
From Bayern’s point of view, it is all the more important that these top performers get through the season in good shape. In terms of breadth, there is still a lack of quality less than two weeks before the transfer window closes, and the Supercup victory should not hide that. Nagelsmann himself emphasized after the game: “We always look what is going on in the transfer market. If there are still players coming, we are happy. If not, we are also happy because we have a very good team.”
2. In this form, FC Bayern must extend with Süle
One of the, if not the biggest trump cards of the record champions in Dortmund: The defensive was much more solid than in the league opener against Borussia Mönchengladbach (1: 1). Above all, the Nagelsmann-Elf succeeded in keeping Erling Haaland cold for long stretches of the game. Especially the pair of central defenders, consisting of Niklas Süle and Dayot Upamecano, harmonized perfectly with each other, both won more than half of their duels and convinced – unlike their counterparts – with a safe and reliable play structure.
“We defended very well and were very aggressive. Niki and Upa were very stable in the chain. It was a step forward from both of them,” said Nagelsmann after the final whistle.
Especially the current condition of Süle can be classified as a surprise. The 25-year-old, who only benched at the European Championship and has usually returned from the summer break with a few pounds too much on his ribs in the past few years, leaves an astonishingly fit and alert impression under his former Hoffenheim sponsor Nagelsmann. If he continues this form in the coming weeks and months, Bayern will have to extend his contract, which will expire in 2022. In any case, he is no longer a sales candidate this summer. Nagelsmann plans with him. Rightly.
3. A new right-back would be good for BVB
“I’ve seen a lot of positive things,” said BVB coach Marco Rose after the game. His team had just dared to do a lot offensively and developed some promising chances. Might be. As so often in the recent past, BVB broke the neck of a defensive performance that was too weak against the ice-cold Bayern.
Manuel Akanji’s devastating faux pas before Bayern’s third goal was just the tip of the iceberg. Especially Felix Passlack on the right side of defense seemed completely overwhelmed with and without the ball, the first two goals came from his side.
“Felix qualified for this task in preparation,” said Rose defending the 23-year-old after the game. “We are very happy to have him.” Nevertheless, it should be clear that more quality is required at the highest level. Thomas Meunier, who is currently unavailable due to the corona, is not a top-notch solution if you recall his debut season and at the same time think back to the performances of his predecessor Achraf Hakimi.
Not a new finding, but one that has once again become clear: a new right-back would be good for BVB.