In the narrow work victory of FC Bayern against 1. FC Köln, it becomes clear that super talent Jamal Musiala is too good for the role of the joker. In addition, Leroy Sane needs a different role in Julian Nagelsmann’s system in order to become the player he once was again – and Steffen Baumgarts Cologne need more such appearances in order not to have anything to do with relegation this season.
Three theses to 3: 2 in Munich.
1. Musiala belongs to the starting XI of FC Bayern
20,000 spectators were allowed into the Allianz Arena on Sunday evening – more than since March 8, 2020. Their anticipation was correspondingly great. What they saw in the first 45 minutes, however, was nothing but tough football food. While 1. FC Köln was understandably busy making a good impression against the ball, FC Bayern found it difficult to even remotely create danger in the last third.
There was a lack of punch and speed, precision in the combination game and sparkling ideas. Not only Leroy Sane, made a scapegoat by some of the fans and even booed, but the entire offensive of the Munich team left a weak, because lethargic, impression.
Until the restart. Until Jamal Musiala came on. Because almost every time the 18-year-old got the ball, an enthusiastic murmur went through the arena a short time later. Musiala did Musiala things: he left several opponents in a confined space and put his teammates brilliantly on with clever passes. This was also the case in the 50th minute, when he snaked in the best Franck-Ribery manner on the left side by stepping over to the baseline and put the ball back towards the fives, where Robert Lewandowski was lurking and only had to insert.
“Jamal,” said Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann afterwards, praised the super talent, “played an outstanding game offensively. He once again showed his one-on-one qualities, which are well known.”
In this form, Musiala is too good for 20-, 30- or 45-minute assignments as before under Nagelsmann. Despite his age, he has the necessary maturity and even more the necessary quality to be a regular at the German record champions. Sane, like Kingsley Coman, does not come close to the native of Stuttgart in terms of performance. The wing tongs of the FCB should therefore consist of Musiala and Serge Gnabry in the coming games.
2. Sane needs his role from Manchester
As often as Sane is thrashed: It is not solely up to him that the knot does not want to burst with him. Concentration in the passing game and conclusion? Yes, the 25-year-old still urgently needs to work on that. The Cologne game made it clear once again that Sane does not know how to use his full potential on the right wing. Especially not if he doesn’t have an attacking full-back to support him. And even less if he has to take on the role of the running-intensive right track player entrusted with many defensive tasks in 3-4-3 or 3-5-2.
This experiment went wrong two months ago in the third European Championship group game of the German national team against Hungary. Apart from that, Sane is not another Arjen Robben who loves playful passing game and can resolve supposedly static outnumbered situations by leaving two to three opponents in a confined space. He needs the short, the dynamic actions – ideally in spacious game situations, such as counterattacks, in which his strengths come into their own. Like when he was at Manchester City’s prime.
By the way, Pep Guardiola let Sane, who played for the Skyblues from 2016 to 2020, mostly on the left offensive flank. A position that he has not been allowed to hold at all in Munich so far. Why actually? Like Hansi Flick, Nagelsmann seems to be of the opinion that Sane would be too much on his feet with the offensively-minded left-back Alphonso Davies if he played on the left. It would be worth a try – or Nagelsmann tries Sane as well as ex-national coach Joachim Löw in the EM qualification as a kind of second, variable tip with the necessary freedom and comparatively few defensive tasks.
The problem: This role actually belongs to FC Bayern in a certain way already Thomas Müller, who also brings the important argument to harmonize perfectly with striker Robert Lewandowski. What Nagelsmann will come up with in the coming months: A final assessment of Sane in the Bayern shirt is still too early. But if the former Schalke player takes on the role he currently plays in the long term, his obligation threatens to become a misunderstanding. Precisely because competitors like Musiala are already outstripping him.
Sane against Cologne
Musiala against Cologne
Minutes of use
Great opportunities created
Duels (won by them)
3. With this football, Cologne is not a relegation candidate
“You don’t always have to say after a narrow Bayern win: Bayern weren’t in a good mood. No, you can also say: The opponent was in a good mood. And we were,” said Cologne coach Steffen Baumgart after the final whistle .
An accurate assessment, because despite all the defensive problems the Munich had brought along from last season, the guests with their courageous football left an extremely positive impression in the Allianz Arena.
Baumgart’s handwriting – high pressing, quick switching after winning the ball – can be seen early in the new season. Just like the attitude not to give up even after falling behind. The goals by Anthony Modeste (60th) and Mark Uth (62nd) for the interim 2-2 equalization were, even if they resulted to a certain extent from the sleepiness of the Bavarian defensive, the proof of the cohesion of the Domstadt, who in the final phase even increased the number of strokes again and could well have come to an equalization. No wonder that Baumgart was almost a little disappointed afterwards.
“In the end, Bayern won through a single action,” noted the 49-year-old. “In terms of play, there is nothing to complain about. The boys did a good job and took their hearts out of their pants in the second half. I would have been happy if it had happened a little earlier, but I think that’s a development.” If this development continues, Cologne will have nothing to do with relegation this season.