French centre-back Dayot Upamecano will swap RB Leipzig for Bayern Munich this summer, where he is looking forward to continue playing under fellow incoming import Julian Nagelsmann and to be lining up alongside – rather than against – Robert Lewandowski.
It underlines their reluctance to relinquish an eight-year grip on the championship that could be extended to nine if Leipzig fail to beat Borussia Dortmund on Matchday 32 this Saturday or, regardless of that result, Bayern claim all three points against Borussia Mönchengladbach later the same day.
Eventually, the draw of the record German and current European champions was too much for Upamecano to turn down.
Watch: Why Dayot Upamecano is the perfect signing for Bayern Munich
There was considerable interest across Europe in his signature, but the 22-year-old France international explained that clubs don’t get bigger than Bayern and that extending his five-year stay in Germany was a no-brainer.
“There was interest from other clubs too, of course,” he told Sportbuzzer. “But I was sure relatively quickly that I wanted to stay in Germany and in the Bundesliga. I like it here, the level of the games, the fans, the stadiums.”
As for what it’s like to receive the call from Bayern, Upamecano added: “You’re already proud, yes. It doesn't get much bigger, especially if you've played in Leipzig beforehand.”
Upamecano’s signature in February was followed by last week’s confirmation that Nagelsmann will replace current incumbent Hansi Flick as head coach next year, quickly moving to reunite two of football’s most exciting prospects - on the pitch and in the dugout, respectively.
Watch: Julian Nagelsmann - Bound for Bayern
Victory over Dortmund in the showpiece would leave a fitting legacy to their eye-catching spells in Leipzig, and Upamecano is pleased to be able to continue working together from next season, albeit in a new environment.
With that said, the three-cap Frenchman isn’t expecting any favouritism when they touch down in Bavaria.
"It wasn't predictable when I made the move in February. But it's nice nonetheless because I know his game philosophy and his style. Still, I'm starting from scratch like all the other players,” said Upamecano in a separate interview with Kicker.
"It's fun to work with him, he understands the game and knows exactly what is needed. I've made great progress under him, and he helped me a lot, especially in the tactical area. I can only praise him and consider myself lucky to be able to continue working with him."
Another man Upamecano is excited to be taking to the field in partnership with, rather than opposition, is Bundesliga record-breaker, Lewandowski.
The two have had a number of ding-dong battles up against each other over the years and Upamecano has been exceptional in restricting the Poland captain to four goals in eight games with the two on the pitch at the same time.
Three of those Lewandowski goals came in their first two meetings – when Upamecano was 18 in their dramatic 5-4 opening encounter and had turned 19 the day before their second – with just one Lewy strike – in the dying embers of the 2018/19 cup final – in the subsequent six.
That is some record considering Lewandowski is scoring Bundesliga goals at a rate of one every 61 minutes this season, but Upamecano stopped short of saying he had his soon-to-be teammate “under control”.
He added to Sportbuzzer: “A man like that is never completely under control. He has everything, can do everything.”
Fortunately for both men, they will no longer have to worry about duelling each other outside of the training ground at Säbener Straße in future.