Sports FOOTBALL A new era for Bayern, but no rivals yet

A new era for Bayern, but no rivals yet

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Iis this finally? Before the start of each season, we look for a reason why Bayern Munich might not win the Bundesliga, and it starts to look like a futile hope for a genuine title fight. In May, Bayern became champions for the 10th time in a row. record holder have been brought to such an exemplary standard that few see an inevitable end to the hodgepodge.

However, this time the ball is led by a new cast, with Oliver Kahn as CEO in the world after Hoeness and Rummenigge, who must prove his authority in tandem with Hasan Salihamidzic, a sports director who has never been fully convinced. Bayern’s legendary consistency never really came from who is on the pitch or even who is on the bench, but instead came from a higher level. Kahn and Salihamidzic are in the spotlight, and the swirling saga of Robert Lewandowski’s future was as delicate a summer task as they could imagine.

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In 2022, Bayern always faced a reckoning: the contracts of Manuel Neuer, Thomas Müller, Serge Gnabry and Lewandowski expired in 2023. Bayern, not being Barcelona, ​​understands that not everyone can be paid. But when we looked at who the gooseberry could be, few people realized that it was Lewandowski.

The letter has been on the wall from when he was offered a one-year extension at the same salary in the spring, leaving a scratch on the Polish striker’s ego that never faded and fueling his desire to split. A whisper, but perhaps Julian Nagelsmann prefers a more fluid line of attack. No one pretends that Lewandowski, who scored 344 goals for Bayern, is not a defeat, but the signing of Sadio Mane gives Nagelsmann a choice – a trio of strikers with Gnabry as a fake nine, or two strikers with Gnabry and Mane who looked red. -hot victory in the Super Cup over RB Leipzig. Bayern’s already powerful attack could develop further, as when Napoli lost to Gonzalo Higuain by 36 goals in 2016 and ended up scoring 94 goals in Serie A the following season, 14 more than against him. .

Conversely, Nagelsmann’s priority has always been to improve the defense, which he believes was the cause of last season’s Champions League disappointments. The signing of Matthijs de Ligt underscored this – Bayern have only ever paid a higher fee for Lucas Hernandez to partner with the Dutchman – although the coach must respond to accusations that his scheme is too cavalier. However, the depth of taste is mesmerizing. Jamal Musiala, who is only 19 years old but is the man of the Super Cup match against Leipzig (Nagelsmann called his performance “world class”), looks ready for a big season and Marcel Sabitzer, who was so disappointed in his first campaign at the club. , is a good replacement for the injured Leon Goretzka and, according to Nagelsmann, “one of the winners of the preseason.” If Kahn and Salihamidzic are put under the microscope, it still looks like it would take mismanagement of epic proportions for Bayern to elude the domestic summit.

This time Borussia have a plan, but can they get closer to Bayern? Photo: Ronald Wittek/EPA

At the very least, it seems that Borussia Dortmund is closer to the plan than before. They dealt with their defensive problems by bringing in Niklas Süle and Niko Schlotterbeck with Salih Ozdan to anchor in front of them, as well as Germany forward Karim Adeyemi. Even though Hans-Joachim Watzke warned against expecting instant results, the return of the popular Edin Terzić as manager and the quick end of their transfer deal has been a real optimism.

The diagnosis of new striker Sebastian Haller with testicular cancer certainly ruined the mood. Obviously, Haller’s health as he recovers is the most important aspect of the conversation, but he also represents a great sporting loss. Apart from his prolific form in the Champions League for Ajax last season, he was so attractive to Borussia with his intelligence and strength, offering to also bring Marco Reus and Adeyemi into the game (an aspect where he could actually represent an improvement Erling). Holland). His mid-term absence means that BVB will need to return to the market in search of a replacement, and last week players including Edinson Cavani and Anthony Modest from FC Cologne contacted each other.

Leipzig, who improved so much thanks to the mid-season arrival of Domenico Tedesco last season, showed true ambition in the record-breaking signing of David Raum (continuing the meteoric rise of the now German left-back) and in trying to bring back Timo Werner from Chelsea, teasing that they may move away from their strictly youthful model. They also retained the Bundesliga Player of the Year Christopher Nkunka.

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Leverkusen, despite a DfB Pokal relegation false start in a seven-goal thriller in Elversberg’s third tier, retained their star Patrick Schick and added a promising Adam Chlosek, while Champions League-bound Eintracht Frankfurt have high expectations. who have added to their Europa League winners Mario Gotze and a big upgrade of center forward Lucas Alario.

Consecutive contenders will make this Bundesliga season or not. It’s just how Bayern go through this transitional period will determine exactly how intense the competition can be.

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