5 Bayern Munich players to watch in the final games of the season
With the Bundesliga title secure for 2021/22, Bayern Munich coach Julian Nagelsmann has said he will give minutes to some of the champions’ fringe players, such as Jamal Musiala, Marcel Sabitzer and potentially even teen prodigy Paul Wanner.
bundesliga.com highlights five players you might well be seeing more of for the champions in the final three matchdays…
Position: Central/attacking midfield
Appearances this season: 28 (11 starts)
Perhaps surprisingly, Musiala has played more minutes in the league this season than Kingsley Coman, but it feels that the Frenchman has played a bigger part. As Nagelsmann said in his press conference before facing Mainz on Matchday 32: “Jamal has had a lot of minutes, has made very good progress.” The coach also added that the fleet-footed midfielder can start, but that is also “very valuable as a substitute”. That is perhaps the teenager’s problem at the moment, but he will feel his goal to effectively secure the title against Borussia Dortmund will stand him in good stead.
Watch: Musiala’s career milestones
It also can’t be forgotten that Musiala has only just turned 19. There’s no doubting he’s an important part of the team despite not being a nailed-on starter. He faces stiff competition in central midfield from Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka, while Thomas Müller is also undroppable further forward. It is a case of the young Germany international biding his time, but the final three games present a good chance for him to show he can put a string of performances together.
Position: Central/attacking midfield
Appearances this season: 25 (7 starts)
It goes without saying that Sabitzer had imagined his first season at Bayern going differently. He has only played 90 minutes once since his summer move from RB Leipzig – following Nagelsmann as one of the new coach’s top recruitment targets – with injuries and form yet to see him mount a serious claim to dislodge any of the established players.
It wasn’t until Matchday 28 that he had a direct hand in a goal for the club. And there was palpable relief, with Nagelsmann talking at length afterwards about Sabitzer going forward: “I wish above all that he finds his peak here because this is his dream club. I hope the goal helps him find his way better.” An assist followed against Dortmund in Der Klassiker. You feel Nagelsmann will be eager to give him further chances to find his feet with the pressure off.
Appearances this season: 15 (5 starts)
Alphonso Davies turned to Nianzou during the title celebrations on Matchday 31 and asked, “first one?” The French defender replied, “No, second.” The Canadian was visibly shocked, but Nianzou has indeed been at Bayern for two seasons now. He only made six league appearances last term, and Nagelsmann has appeared keen to give him more minutes, but at times has had to hold back his young central defender.
“He can’t be out of control like that. It was a lesson,” the coach said of substituting the teenager at half-time in the win at Arminia Bielefeld following a reckless challenge. He’s also spoken of the excessively risky passes Nianzou sometimes makes, but was clear in his Mainz press conference that the teenager is going nowhere: “Loaning Tanguy out is not an option. He’s firmly in my planning.” With Niklas Süle leaving for Dortmund and a back three also one of Nagelsmann’s primary tactics, it would be logical for Nianzou to be given a prolonged run at the back end of this season.
Appearances this season: 17 (0 starts)
Choupo-Moting has been a very popular member of the squad for the two years he has been in Munich, understanding that his role is to provide cover for Robert Lewandowski or sometimes even play alongside him late on in games where a goal is needed. It means he’s yet to start this term in the league, but Nagelsmann has confirmed the Cameroon international will play from the off against former club Mainz.
His versatility across the front line provides Bayern with a number of options for formation and approach, given opponents are so used to having to mark just Lewandowski as the sole striker. Choupo’s only start in any club competition this season saw him score four and set up three in the 12-0 win against Bremer SV in the DFB Cup first round. And the experienced forward always plays with a smile on his face.
Position: Attacking midfield
Appearances this season: 4 (0 starts)
There was real excitement when 16-year-old Wanner came on in the first game of 2022 to become the youngest player in Bayern’s history. “He's definitely a player I've got my eye on that we need to support in the future,” Nagelsmann said ahead of that Gladbach game of the young left footer. Wanner was called back from a Germany U17 training camp in Spain for that match and has been a part of the senior Bayern team since.
The teenager has been in the squad for nine out of 14 Rückrunde fixtures, getting on four times. Nagelsmann had confirmed in January that he wanted the 16-year-old training with the seniors, even though he’d also continue to feature for the U19s – who he’d only been promoted to in the Hinrunde. Musiala and Sabitzer will certainly be ahead in the pecking order for playing time in these closing weeks, but Wanner will feel there’s no better time to build on his longest Bundesliga appearance time of 15 minutes.
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