An icy coldness took possession of Julian Nagelsmann. She made him shudder. It crawled up his pant legs, penetrating every pore of his black shirt. He was completely at her mercy.
So that’s what it feels like to become German champions with Bayern. Nagelsmann did not know that before, he had never won the championship as a young football coach, which can be reasonably explained by the fact that he had never been the coach of the club that has now leased the title for the tenth year in a row – and his Celebrate successes with extensive wheat beer showers.
There are advantages when a championship stays exciting for a longer period of time, preferably until the last day of play in mid-May when it’s warm outside. So the 34-year-old was wet down to his underpants and it didn’t help that it was a bit warmer here in the press room than in the stadium. Nevertheless: It felt good out there, he reported, and it was important to have secured this title right now. On this cool April day, in the sold-out home stadium against their worst rival Borussia Dortmund – 3: 1 (2: 0).
They were predominantly dominant, except for a phase after Dortmund’s goal from a penalty caused by Joshua Kimmich, when they lost control of what was then a fast-paced top game. “It puts the season in a better light,” he said; one she deserved anyway. Seen in this way, Nagelsmann was happy to freeze now.
The players congratulated him from the bottom of their hearts and very honestly, says the coach
Outside, it was Benjamin Pavard who caught him first. It didn’t matter anymore, but maybe it wasn’t a coincidence either. On the one hand, because the French defender was in top form in this third half, literally snatching their freshly filled giant glasses from the hands of the eight dirndl-wearing women, in order to sprint after everyone he hadn’t showered with them with an unusual offensive urge.
This tradition hasn’t existed in Munich since Corona, and now they’re out there celebrating a bit of the frustration that the Champions League loss to Villarreal in the quarter-finals had left behind and the euphoria with which they did it, showed that the championship title was more than a consolation prize for the players. And on the other hand, Pavard had already caught a few opponents badly during the game: Dortmund’s Julian Brandt, for example, which should have earned him a dark yellow card; and above all Jude Bellingham: For the sliding tackle against him, a second Dortmund penalty would have been due for a possible 2:2. But in both moments referee Daniel Siebert recognized no foul.
“This is an important moment for me,” Nagelsmann assured at the press conference. “It wasn’t that easy”, this year, there were a few blows to the neck, “which are not so easy for me, as an ambitious person, to cope with”. He didn’t elaborate on that, but the early exit from the DFB Cup against Mönchengladbach, the quarter-finals against Villarreal, the vaccination debates, absences due to Corona, the dispute with Freiburg after a substitution error and the bad mood in the squad, which is difficult to explain – there are probably really easier first years.
His players congratulated him “from the bottom of their hearts” and “very honestly,” he said, and then a sentence followed that showed how young this coach actually is: “They all won their first title and know how it is is.” Thomas Müller, 32, has had this experience eleven times now.
At the end there is something to think about: He will reduce his frequent tactical changes a little
However, there was not a full glass of euphoria in the press room, but on the contrary: a lot to think about. The eloquent Nagelsmann had recently galloped a bit in some debates, but he still wanted to remain true to his style, he explained, continue to express his opinion and try to “transport” the opinion of the board of directors, with whom he exchanged ideas closely. And maybe this young coach sometimes went a bit far in tactical matters.
The team, explained Nagelsmann, had been used to essentially “playing the same thing” over the past few years, which didn’t necessarily sound like a great compliment – but gave them security in critical moments. Although he is not someone who just pushes the magnets around on the tactics board to show what he can do tactically, he will not completely give up the option of the three-man chain. And of course there are always a lot of tricky things to balance out, such as when Alphonso Davies is out for months, Kingsley Coman prefers to play on the left, but Leroy Sané likes to play half-left and Pavard prefers to play in central defense anyway.
But yes: His frequent tactical changes, which he will probably “reduce a little” in the future. Maybe that was an interim result of the past two weeks, in which a lot was analyzed and worked through together.
In the remaining games, Julian Nagelsmann now wants to reward the diligence of those players who have hardly had any playing time recently, he announced. However, the time until mid-May should not be easy – if only because of the open contract issues with Serge Gnabry and Robert Lewandowski, the scorers of the first two Munich goals (15th, 34th). Despite stomach problems, Gnabry played excellently for an hour, Lewandowski created a few chances and secured many balls.
After that, however, the Pole was asked about his outstanding contract extension – and said on the pay-TV channel Sky that he didn’t know much more than that there would be a meeting soon. That not a word has been spoken to him and that it is not an easy situation for him. And that it would be better to ask the club whether they really want to keep him. It sounded as if the atmosphere in the conversation with those responsible had cooled down in the same way as coach Nagelsmann did after the wheat beer showers. At least over the course of the following night, everyone should have gotten a little warmer during the championship celebrations.