Tag Archives: German Bundesliga

Bayern Munich agree fee for Manchester City winger

Manchester City have agreed a £54.8 million fee for Leroy Sane to complete a move to Bundesliga Champions Bayern Munich. Sane will reportedly sign a four-year deal worth around £385,000 a week.

The German international turned down a new contract with City, who had been willing to pay only around half the wages Bayern have agreed.  The Citizens ultimately decided to sell him rather than risk losing him for free next year when his contract expired.

Sane will now fly out to Munich to complete the move and will stay in Germany for the rest of the season, rather than return for City’s Champions League campaign.

A move to the German giants was on the cards last summer, only for Sane to suffer a serious knee injury during the community shield which ruled him out of action for ten months.

Despite City valuing him at an astonishing £140 million a year ago, getting almost £55 million for the 24-year-old would appear to be some exceptionally good business done by Pep Guardiola.

However, this move would be a disappointing end to Sane’s City career that appeared at one time to be heading for great things at the Etihad after he was crowned PFA Young Player of the Year in 2018.

Sane, was understood to be shocked to be left out of Joachim Low’s German World Cup squad- at the time a move that was quiet baffling- after his magnificent contribution of 10 goals and 15 assists to the record breaking City side, who became the first to break the 100 points barrier in an English top flight season.

In his total appearances of 90 games for City in the Premiership, he has scored 25 goals with 28 assists in a side that has won 68 times, with only nine defeats.

Sane, certainly looks likely to become one of the key components of Hans Flick’s German machine. Not only will the German Champions have the likes of Thiago, Javi Martinez and Alphonso Davies in midfield, they will be now able to throw Sane into the mix as well.  Ultimately, City’s loss looks to be Bayern’s gain, with the German champions squad for next season enhanced by the signing of Leroy Sane.

Already this season Bayern’s strength in depth of their squad is frightening. Enough already to secure the Bundesliga title and the possibility of the Champions League, which is still up for grabs. Adding Sane into this quality squad will only see Der FCB continue to dominate German football for the foreseeable future.

 

Who is Jude Bellingham?

Jadon Sancho. Lautaro Martinez. Erling Haaland. We see plenty of names being branded about as the next best young players but one player that has flown into the public eye recently is Birmingham City’s Jude Bellingham.

The 16 year-old turns 17 on the 29th and has amassed 33 Championship appearances since 2019, scoring four goals. He caught the attention of FourFourTwo magazine when he scored the winner for the Birmingham U23’s side against Nottingham Forest at the ripe age of 15. By March 2019, he’d made 10 development side appearances and bagged three goals. He was also being linked with top clubs around Europe, Borussia Dortmund being the most talked about name at first.

Bellingham then signed a two-year scholarship with Birmingham to begin in July 2019. He was part of the first-team squad in their pre-season training, played and scored in some pre-season friendlies and was subsequently given the number 22 shirt for the 2019/20 campaign .

On the 6th August 2019, Bellingham became Birmingham City’s youngest ever first-team player when he started an EFL cup tie with Portsmouth. At the age of 16 years and 38 days, he beat the record of 16 years 139 days that Trevor Francis had previously held. The Englishman also captained England U15’s in the 17/18 season and went on to do the same for the U16’s by the end of 2018.

In the current season he has played 33 times, as mentioned before and has played a mix of wing and central midfield positions. He has the physical presence needed for a central midfielder and has a good eye for a pass. For a young player he seems very composed and plays with a maturity beyond his years.

With four goals from midfield, you could also say he has a decent eye for goal, which at 16 is highly impressive. The Championship is a notoriously difficult league to play in and with him being able to establish himself, you would have to say the hype surrounding his talents is justified.

Pep Clotet and the club staff feel he is most suited to an advanced central midfield role.

Speaking in October, Clotet said:

“The only difference between a player who is 16 and a player that has a lot of years as a pro is the way they handle the load.

“He’s handling it very well at the moment and he’s a strong player so I don’t see why he can’t hack it.”

His performances have certainly garnered a lot of attention from Europe’s top clubs, with Bayern Munich now entering the fray alongside Dortmund and Manchester United. There were reports in January linking the youngster with a £50 million move to United, a deal that never seemed likely.

However, it does bring up the topic of English players going for a certain premium. As £50 million for a player who had only played half a Championship season seems very steep.

Bellingham will be able to sign his first professional contract when he turns 17 on Monday – he earns a measly £145 per week at Birmingham, which means clubs have just a few days to convince him to join them. Bayern Munich have made an effort to potentially hijack a deal to Dortmund, with Bellingham choosing the latter over United because of the success Jadon Sancho has had.

It would be difficult to see where he fits in at Bayern, whereas Dortmund you could assume Bellingham would get more playing time. Wherever his career path takes him, you can be sure that we haven’t heard the last of this starlet.

Bayern wrap up Bundesliga title – What makes them so successful?

Robert Lewandowski’s first half strike sealed Bayern Munich’s eighth successive title after defeating struggling Werder Bremen on Tuesday evening.

Bayern’s 11th straight Bundesliga win put them 10 points clear of Borussia Dortmund, who have three games remaining.

Not for the first time this season Bayern were far from their best, but like all great sides they know how to win tight games, which they have been successfully doing all season.

Bayern celebrated at the final whistle with shouts of delight from all the squad in a rain soaked Weserstadion. The Bayern machine wrapped up the Bundesliga title with two games remaining, having gone on an unstoppable run which yielded 22 wins in their last 23 games with only two points dropped.

It wasn’t all plain sailing for Bayern this season after an embarrassing 5-1 defeat at the hands of Eintracht Frankfurt at the beginning of November, the club decided to take the decision to remove Niko Kovac from his 16 month reign and replace him with Hansi Flick as an interim manager before signing a new contract until 2023 in April.

Bayern have certainly flourished under the 55-year-old, having taken 58 points from a possible 66 on offer, including winning 26 of his first 29 games in charge, yet their season is still far from over.

Having wrapped up the Bundesliga, they have also progressed to the final of the German Cup and are still in the Champions League and who is to say that they will not complete a unique treble.

Bayern have now reached a new peak after a record 30th title and look certain to continue dominating German football for a long time to come.

People can say that the Bundesliga isn’t the strongest league in Europe and you would always expect Bayern or Dortmund to be the sides favourite to be crowned champions. What, however, makes Bayern so much ahead of rivals Dortmund must be their all-round squad which oozes quality in every department. The likes of Alphonso Davies, Lucas Hernandez, Serge Gnabry, Joshua Kimmich and Ivan Perisic to name a few are class, and to think the likes of Philippe Coutinho can’t even get into the side at the moment. That just shows you the strength that they possess.

Take the evergreen Lewandowski, a proven goal scorer in this league with 31 goals already so far- his best haul in the Bundesliga- and a total of 46 in total in all competitions. This Bayern side is not just about the Pole’s goals. Look at Germany’s Golden Boot winner in 2010 Thomas Muller who has been a regular goal scorer for the Champions for many years. This season he is being crowned king of the assists with 20 thus far.

Flick’s team do not just have the experienced fire power up front, which makes them the class act that they are. It all starts at the back with experienced goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. The 34-year-old stopper has been in superb form this season alongside a solid defence that has conceded only 31 goals in 32 games.

Bayern have also set another record, by hitting 93 goals in their Bundesliga games, setting a new league best.

Overall with the calibre of players that Bayern have in their current squad, you would expect them to be dominating German football for a lengthy period, which is bad news for the other 17 clubs in the Bundesliga.

Julian Nagelsmann – The Wonderkid Coach

As football fans we always seem to discuss who will be the next top player and which young stars are likely to reach their potential. One thing fans don’t always talk about is coaches and that will be the focus for this article. Football is having what we could call a “transition” period – all the top clubs are having issues of their own. Real Madrid and Barcelona are not the same forces they used to be and are trying to get back to their own glory days, particularly in Europe. The same applies for Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Juventus and even Arsenal. Liverpool remain the only complete article in terms of an elite team, what this means is new clubs have been given the opportunity to push for success and new coaches are all vying to leave their imprint on a changing football landscape.

We’ve seen a trend in younger managers being appointed with the hope of long-term success: Mikel Arteta, Frank Lampard, Marco Rose and Erik Ten Hag are just some examples of younger coaches aiming to create their own philosophy and ethos. However, none of them are as young as 32-year-old Julian Nagelsmann who is currently the manager of RB Leipzig.

Nagelsmann made headlines in 2015 when he was appointed head coach of Hoffenheim at the staggeringly young age of 28 – the youngest ever Bundesliga head coach. Hoffenheim were embroiled in a relegation battle and the local media ridiculed the decision. The man nicknamed ‘Baby Mourinho’ by former Hoffenheim keeper Tim Wiese defied the odds and steered the club away from relegation. They won seven of their 14 remaining games to finish one point above the relegation play-off spot. They subsequently made key signings the next summer: Andrej Kramaric from Leicester, midfielders Lukas Rupp from Stuttgart and Kevin Vogt from Cologne, plus former Bayern Munich forward Sandro Wagner from Darmstadt. With the momentum carrying on, Nagelsmann guided them to 4th place and their first ever taste of Champions League football. He then guided them to 3rd in his next season, before struggling the season after as they finished down in 9th. 

It was at the end of this campaign that he signed a four-year deal with RB Leipzig on the 21st June 2019.  Nagelsmann’s success with RB Leipzig has been well documented.  He has been able to implement his attacking style of play on to a team with better players, Timo Werner has been the biggest beneficiary of his system.

At Hoffenheim, Nagelsmann primarily used a 5-3-2 formation with his players being able to rotate through positions to cover each flank. RB Leipzig focused on a pressing style of football, which allowed them to slow down and reduce attacking impetus. This enabled them to provide themselves with options for counter-attacking. They attacked through the middle using Niklas Sule or Sebastian Rudy, with their strikers laying the ball off. At Leipzig he’s been able to rotate between a back four and back five depending on the opponent. Like with Hoffenheim, his Leipzig team are able to play fluidly with players that can rotate positionally and that can press opponents off the ball to concentrate play on specific flanks in order to increase turnovers. Allowing his opposition to play using the touchline means they can set pressing traps by using their narrow shape to overload the targeted side and keep shape within transition. 

In attack they rely on diagonal passes being made available through the use of ‘U’ shapes within midfield. This allows Leipzig to utilise either two advanced midfielders including a deeper pivot, or have one of their strikers move into a deeper position with a midfielder pushing on.

Another crucial cog in Nagelsmann’s style of play is a target man. This allows him to have a player, which his team can use as an advanced pivot to start attacks or relieve pressure of the defense by holding up long balls. It also means they can break the lines in attack with the target man being able to play passes to advanced runners.

RB Leipzig aim to have five forwards in attack: utilising two wingers, two inside forwards and a central striker. This shape allows them to play short passes in and around the box and create spaces for through balls. Dynamic midfielders such as Christopher Nkunku and Marcel Sabitzer have really helped show how Nagelsmann’s system work well with technically gifted and expressive players.

Having a five at the back allows the wing-backs to join in attacks but when changing to a four man defence they can use the extra midfielders to use an even more narrow shape. The front two become more involved in the press but also serve as the catalysts for counter-attacks. The wide midfielders can subsequently tuck in to form a 4-2-2-2 shape. Emil Forsberg and Timo Werner can also rotate within a 4-2-3-1 in order to use Forsberg’s creative passing in central areas, with runners playing off him. The addition of Dani Olmo in January means that 4-2-2-2 is certainly more dynamic and again more fluency with the plethora of attacking players. Their defence has also been a key anchor point in their success. Dayot Upamecano, Nordi Mukiele and Lukas Klostermann are some of the best examples of the talent they possess defensively not to mention Tyler Adams who has shown vast improvement under Nagelsmann too. The RB Leipzig coach has shown his ability not only to fit players into his way of playing but also improve them within that system.

Nagelsmann has proved himself to be the best young manager in the world. His tactical versatility and ability to create fluid shapes has led him to great success already. This was typified with their Champions League victory over Spurs. The ‘baby Mourinho’ showed up his older counterpart as they played them off the park in both legs. While their title challenge has faltered this season with one too many draws, his side are showing plenty of promise and could very easily improve their push for the Bundesliga title next season. If they can keep hold of some of their key players or find suitable replacements, you could see RB Leipzig evolve into a strong side over the coming years. Whether Julian Nagelsmann stays with the German side or not, it will certainly be interesting to see how his career develops.

German Bundesliga Weekend Previews – Bayern Munich look to take another step to the title

The weekend’s Budesliga action kicks off on Friday evening when Hoffenheim take on RB Leipzig.

It’s a start of a new era for Hoffenheim, who will have caretaker manager Marcel Rapp in charge, after the German side sacked Alfred Schruder with only four games remaining, despite picking up seven points from their last three matches.

The visitors are unbeaten since the league returned, despite dropping six points after draws against Freiburg, Hertha Berlin and bottom side Paderborn, they currently sit in third place in the League.

Leipzig certainly don’t suffer from travel sickness, having won nine times so far on their travels. One more win on the road would see them break a new club record.

Saturday’s action starts off with FC Cologne entertaining Union Berlin.

The hosts will be looking to get back to winning ways after failing to win in their past three games. The visitors, who drew with Schalke last Sunday, will be without Robert Andrich through suspension and will also be missing at least five players due to injuries.

Cologne are also struggling with injured players and could see four of their squad ruled out of Saturday’s clash.

The omens don’t look to promising for Cologne, having not beaten their opponents in three previous meetings.

Struggling Fortuna Dusseldorf welcome second place Dortmund to the Merker Spiel Arena on Saturday afternoon.

Dusseldorf, who have had only one victory in their last five games, will be after all three points on offer to ease their relegation worries. The home side picked up a point last week against Hoffenheim, whilst Dortmund claimed all three points after defeating Hertha Berlin.

When these sides met back in December, Dortmund ran out convincing 5-0 winners and on paper it looks more than likely that Dortmund will claim their ninth win on the road and leave Dusseldorf looking over their shoulders in their fight to get away from trouble.

Hertha Berlin meet Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday, with just three points separating the sides in the table.

The visitors come into the game on the back of a poor run of form which has seen them win just once in their last six matches.  The home side are currently decimated by injuries with no less than seven players out of action, including long term casualties Luca Netz and Salomon Kalou.

The clash of the weekend at the foot of the table sees Paderborn take on Werder Bremen. The home side trail Bremen by five points and are already looking doomed for relegation.

Both sides can’t buy a win at the moment with Bremen claiming their last victory against Schalke, whilst Paderborn haven’t won for ten games.

The home side will be without the suspended due of Uwe Hunemeier and Streli Mamba.

Elsewhere, it’s sixth against eighth when Wolfsburg play Freiberg on Saturday.

The hosts have peaked at the right time of the season with four wins in their last five games.

Freiberg go into the game on the back of a fine 1-0 victory over Munchangladbach last Friday.

In the past this fixture has produced plenty of goals, with the likely outcome more of the same this weekend.

Top of the table Bayern Munich entertain fourth placed Borussia Mounchangladbach on Saturday.

Bayern who head the table by seven points will be after another win which will give them one hand on the Champions’ Bowl. However, Bayern will be without the services of both Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller who are suspended for one game.

This should undoubtably be the game of the weekend with Bayern 11 wins at home against Borussia with seven victories on the road.

The visitors won’t want to suffer another 5-1 defeat, which has happened to them against Bayern twice in the last four meetings between the sides.

On Sunday Mainz are at home to Augsburg, with just a single point separating the sides in the table.

Mainz have really struggled at home with just four wins to date whilst Augsburg have also struggled, this time on the road with just three victories. However, on the head to head it is Augsburg who have the better record with four wins out of five in their previous meetings.

Mid table Schalke entertain fifth placed Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday.

The home side are struggling at the moment with no win in their past six games but it’s a different story for Leverkusen who currently have posted four wins in their last seven games.

The hosts injury woes continue with no less than eight players out with injuries. Levekusen’s only doubt for the game is Karim Bellarabi who has been struggling with a hamstring problem.