Julian Nagelsmann is gearing up for his first season in charge of record champions Bayern Munich. - © imago
Julian Nagelsmann is gearing up for his first season in charge of record champions Bayern Munich. - © imago
bundesliga

Julian Nagelsmann planning "small changes, not revolution" at Bayern Munich

Julian Nagelsmann has elaborated on what changes he intends to make at Bayern Munich after succeeding Hansi Flick as head coach earlier this summer.

Nagelsmann inherits a team that Flick steered to an historic sextuple in 2020 and a record-extending ninth successive Bundesliga title last season.

Despite the 33-year-old's reputation as a tactical innovator - forged across formative stints at Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig - he has no intention of tearing up the script at Germany's most successful club.

"It's not about a revolutionary overhaul, but little tweaks in the areas that aren't quite working," Nagelsmann told Kicker. "The players have an exceptional mentality and quality. I don't need to turn everything on its head."

In terms of what style of football he favours, the Bundesliga's youngest ever coach spoke of "effective counter-pressing, upping the tempo of the game, using long balls specific to the opponent and getting players into optimum positions in the attacking third".

More specifically with regards to that final point, Nagelsmann believes Bayern's world-class stable of wingers Kingsley Coman, Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sane - who had a combined hand in 48 Bundesliga goals in 2020/21 - "can post even better numbers".

It's a frightening prospect for the chasing pack.

Bayern finished 13 points clear of Nagelsmann's Leipzig last season, scoring a Bundesliga-leading 99 goals in the process. The record champions only suffered four defeats, and never went more than two games in a row without victory.

Leipzig, by contrast, were beaten seven times, won only two of their final 10 league matches and lost the DFB Cup final to Borussia Dortmund.

"That's the big difference at Bayern," Nagelsmann admitted. "You have to be successful. If you're not, the consequences are more dramatic compared to other clubs - but I'm prepared and ready for the job."

Nagelsmann (l.) succeeds Hansi Flick (r.), who has replaced Joachim Löw as Germany head coach. - CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP via Getty Images

Nagelsmann - who describes himself as "a fun-loving, optimistic and mostly good-spirited guy" - makes his competitive debut as Bayern coach on 6 August, when the Bavarian giants travel to lower-league Bremer in the DFB Cup first round. They begin their Bundesliga title defence against Borussia Mönchengladbach on 13 August, before taking on Dortmund in the DFL Supercup four days later.

The former 1860 Munich and Augsburg centre-back, whose playing career was ended by injury at the age of 20, is bidding for his first major trophy as a head coach, though he did lift the U19 Bundesliga title with Hoffenheim in 2013/14. He has overseen 184 Bundesliga matches to date, winning 88, drawing 58 and losing 38.