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Bayern Munich are STRUGGLING

10 minute read Published February 22, 2024

Last season Bayern Munich started with Julian Nagelsmann in charge. And he was off to a great start. They had just added Sadio Mane and for four games, their new attacking line looked unstoppable. They scored 20. Nagelsmann had one of the highest win percentages of any Bayern coach ever. 

But the season took a turn for the slightly worse. Munich was still in the Champions League, having knocked out PSG in the Round of 16. They were in the German Cup. But, after a loss to Leverkusen, they dropped to second in the league. Gasp!

Worse still, Nagelsmann had the gall to go on a skiing trip during the international break that followed. That was it for the board, and Nagelsmann got the call while still in the alps, he was fired.

Julian Nagelsmann. Photo: Cristiano Barni, Shutterstock

Granted, second place for the ten straight Bundesliga winners isn’t great. There were rumours that he was losing parts of the dressing room and their big signing of the summer, Mané, wasn’t producing. This was all exacerbated by a bad relationship between him and the club's board.

Fast forward to today. Since Thomas Tuchel took the reins, Bayern were minutes from missing out on the 22/23 title, they dropped out of last season's Champions League in the round after Tuchel joined. This season the “bad” form (remember, bad for Bayern Munich is still pretty good), has continued. 

They lost their sixteen game winning streak in the Champions League group stage. After the first round of sixteen game against Lazio, they’re down by 1-0. They’ve already dropped out of the German Cup.

The biggest issue though – they’re 8 points behind Bayer Leverkusen. Last weekend they lost to Bochum. Yesterday, Thomas Tuchel and Bayern Munich announced that he was leaving at the end of the season. An interesting bit in the announcement was this:

The players are to be held responsible and should not be given an excuse again with an immediate change of coach.

What’s happened?

Player issues

Defensively weak

As their statement suggests, the players aren’t performing. Currently, Munich’s biggest issues lie at the back. It’s really an issue that’s continued from last season. They’re, again, conceding more than a goal a game on average. For reference, first placed Leverkusen are at 0.68, Real Madrid at 0.64 and PSG at 0.82.

The German club has struggled to settle on a centre back pairing for the season. Upamecano has had issues with discipline. He got a red card against Lazio and another in the league this weekend. He’s also prone to mistakes, just have a look at this interview with Guardiola from last season. In the game against Lazio, his red card offence also caused the penalty that won Lazio the game. 

Mathijs De Ligt has been out of form and is now third or even fourth choice at centre back. The only centre back that’s really played to his ability this season is Kim Min-jae. In the winter transfer window, they even brought in Tottenham's Dier for coverage.

Injury woes

Key players have been injured for longer stretches. Kingsley Coman has missed 16 out of 22 games so far. Konrad Laimer, who came from Leipzig in the summer, is currently out and isn’t expected back for another month. Right back Mizraouhi has missed almost two months of football.

Transfer business

Speaking of Mizraouhi, many Bayern fans point to the right back position as one in dire need or upgrade. Ahead of the season, both starting fullbacks from last year were let go. Hernandez and Pavard went to PSG and Inter, respectively. Mizraouhi was intended to fill Pavard’s boots since he left but has been unable to. Sacha Boey was brought in during the winter transfer window but immediately got injured. 

One contributor to their issues in defence is their lack of a true defensive midfielder. Although Joshua Kimmich usually plays as their DM, he doesn’t really give coverage to the back line. His strengths lie further up the field. The defensive midfield position really should have been addressed in the summer.

Joshua Kimmich. Photo: By Steffen Prößdorf, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Bright side

But it’s not all bad! The team is scoring for fun. Almost three goals a game in the league. Kane has really hit the ground running and is having one of the best starts at the club and in the league ever. He’s even overtaken Levandowskis first season at Bayern Munich. Musiala keeps proving why he’s one of the hottest prospects in football right now. Sane is playing well.

They’re also just a goal behind Lazio and still have a very good chance of making it through to the quarterfinals. The next game is at Allianz arena and Bayern are still very good at home. In the league they’ve only lost one and drawn one at home.

Finally, it must also be acknowledged that second place would only be an issue at three or four clubs in the world. This season is an outlier in that Leverkusen still haven’t lost a game. They’ve hit a vein of form or a system of play that’s statistically and historically unique.

Looking forward

So Tuchel is leaving at the end of the season. The favourite to replace him is, of course, Xabi Alonso. He’s got history with the club and he’s doing incredibly well in the Bundesliga already. Plus, this is how Bayern like to work. When their coach needs replacing, they bring in the hottest coach in the league. They did it with Nagelsmann, for example.

Thomas Tuchel. Photo: Orange Pictures, Shutterstock

Transfer wise, they have to have a long hard look at the team and its weaknesses. The back line obviously needs strengthening. There have been rumours that Fulham’s Palhinha is their top target at defensive mid. He was even rumoured to be joining in the winter transfer window.

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