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Bayern's dominance in the Bundesliga is nothing new, the real challenge has always been the Champions League, after a historic transfer window, the Bavarians have a team for the highest goals. Hasan Salihamidzic spent nine years at the club, and today he is the person who leads the club's sports policy. Responsible, difficult, and demanding work.
Bayern has been invincible in the Bundesliga for the last ten years, like hardly anyone in the European top leagues. But that stopped being enough a long time ago. Bayern must be European champions, that is the paradigm that everyone in the club aspires to and something that the fans demand and expect. After losing to Villareal last season in the quarterfinals, there was plenty of blame to go around, the main target being Hasan Salihamidzic.
Spending to Succeed
Salihamidzic is the one responsible for bringing in new players, and he was determined to prove that he deserved to carry that responsibility, and more importantly, that he was capable of buying important players. The first purchase was Liverpool's star, Sadio Mane, who left an indelible mark on the Reds in six unforgettable years. The price was 32 million euros.
Most of the money went to Juventus. Still, only 22-year-old Matthijs de Ligt cost 67 million euros, which brought Bayern a key reinforcement in the defensive end. He should be a valuable asset at the back line.
In the projection of strengthening the team, Salihamidzic looked at every element of the team, so after the winger Mane and the defender de Ligt, he also brought in the young French striker Mathys Tel, for whom Rennes was paid 20 million euros. It seems like an exorbitant amount for a 17-year-old player, but Bayern wanted to get ahead of the competition at all costs, especially PSG who were already circling the young striker.
The midfield was strengthened by Ajax player Ryan Gravenberch, who was brought in for 18 million euros. This is a player who has made over a hundred appearances for the Dutch champions, and he recently turned 20 years old. Noussair Mazraoui, a right-back who should be a good option in case of an injury to one of the first team players, was also brought in from Ajax for free.
Who can replace Lewandowski?
The obvious change that will follow Bayern in the new season is the absence of Robert Lewandowski. A player who has been the team's best striker, and one of the best in Europe for almost a decade since he left Borussia Dortmund. In Munich, he made 375 appearances, scored 344 goals, and assisted 72 more times.
The Pole wanted to leave the club, his desire was Barcelona, and it came true with a lot of problems. Bayern also managed to make good money, as much as 45 million euros for a player who is in the last year of his contract and who will start the new season as a 34-year-old.
Lewandowski sometimes scored more than 40 goals per season, and such efficiency is not easy to replace. The arrival of Mane will certainly help, although he is not a true forward, Thomas Müller is still present, and we will see how many opportunities the newly arrived Tel will get.
Of the classic attackers, only Joshua Zirkzee, Gabriel Vidovic, and veteran Choupo-Moting are still on the team. There is still some time left until the end of the transfer window, so it is certainly possible that Bayern will look for a specific option in the position of central attacker, however, the club has already spent almost 140 million euros on new players.
Surprisingly, Nicolas Süle and Corentin Tolisso left the club as free agents, which will certainly be a defeat for the club's management because they did not earn anything from their transfers.
Julian Nagelsmann is one of the most talented coaches in the world, he proved himself by creating a very good Leipzig team. In the second season on the Bayern bench, a breakthrough in the Champions League is needed, no one can guarantee the championship title, but the semi-finals must represent a minimum of expectations.
Nagelsmann will have to put together a team without Robert Lewandowski for the first time, which will be a challenge. Given that the team is full of wing forwards, it is to be expected that the game will move in that direction. However, the young coach frustrated fans last season due to frequent changes in the team's rotations. Sometimes it was not known until the day of the match what the defensive formation would look like, nor in which system the team would play against a particular opponent. Nagelsmann enjoys experimenting.
For the first time this Bayern team will not be able to count on a man in the middle of the attack, Lewandowski was always a safe choice where the ball would end up. Now there will be a big hole in the middle and it will take time for the coach to decide who will fill that space.
Nagelsmann will have to change the perception of his behavior, too often it happens that he does not have the patience to wait for a certain player to prove himself.
Of course, there is always the option that the team will focus on playing without a classic striker, but if we look at the last three Champions League winners, then it is easy to see how each of them (Bayern, Chelsea, Real Madrid) had a man in charge of scoring goals.
Perhaps more than ever, attention will be focused on Thomas Müller, a Bayern legend, a player who is very capable of scoring goals, but also someone who will start the new season at the age of 33. Perhaps too much will be expected of him at this stage of his career.
At this time, the market has dried up regarding top strikers, but when it comes to Nagelsmann, it wouldn't be a surprise to see some of the young attacking players like Vidovic get the chance to prove themselves at the highest level.
Nagelsmann is facing a career challenge, Bayern is too big of a club for high expectations to be suddenly reduced, it is the coach who is responsible for the final product.