"Come on Serge, wing-back's not so bad" - Serge Gnabry (l.) and Alphonso Davies could find themselves lining up on opposite flanks under Julian Nagelsmann at Bayern Munich. - © Andreas Gebert/Pool via Getty Images
"Come on Serge, wing-back's not so bad" - Serge Gnabry (l.) and Alphonso Davies could find themselves lining up on opposite flanks under Julian Nagelsmann at Bayern Munich. - © Andreas Gebert/Pool via Getty Images
bundesliga

Serge Gnabry, Alphonso Davies and the Bayern Munich players who could change position under Julian Nagelsmann

Julian Nagelsmann is the youngest coach in Bundesliga history. He's also one of the most revolutionary. bundesliga.com looks at three players who should ready themselves for a change in position at Bayern Munich next season.

Leroy Sane
Then: Either side winger
Now: Central attacker?

Leroy Sane could find himself playing through the middle if the recent experience of his RB Leipzig contemporaries is anything to go by. - DFL/Getty Images/Sebastian Widmann

Sane joined Bayern from Manchester City at the start of last season having missed the previous campaign with a torn cruciate ligament, and allayed any fears he would struggle to get back to his electric best almost as quickly as he raced past opposition markers, plundering 10 goals and 12 assists in all competitions a rate of one every 119 minutes.

Normally found on the left-hand side in England, the left-footed Sane has lined up on the right for Bayern, where his pace allows him to cut inside and finish, a la Arjen Robben, or fly past on the outside, invariably with enough time to work the ball back onto his favoured left foot.

Don't fix it if it ain't broken isn't an adage Nagelsmann seems to hold particularly dear, however, and his preference for a 3-4-3 at RB Leipzig - a formation he used a variation of more than 60 percent of the time last term - shows that the 33-year-old prefers his full-backs to contribute the to the attack from wide areas.

Sane needn't lose too much sleep, though, if the recent experiences of Emil Forsberg and Christopher Nkunku are anything to go by. Both schooled as wingers, they were tucked in behind a central striker last season, and had a hand in 15 and 18 goals respectively.

"I've never personally trained under Julian Nagelsmann," Sane reflected recently. "But from what you hear there are probably many parallels to [Man City coach] Pep Guardiola, whom I know very well and can only speak positively about. I'm looking forward to working with him next season and I'm optimistic it'll be a successful time."

Serge Gnabry
Then: Winger/forward
Now: Right wing-back?!

"Not again, Julian" - Gnabry (r.) has already played out of position for Nagelsmann (l.) in his career. - Matthias Hangst/Bongarts/Getty Images

Gnabry was often found on the opposite flank to Sane under Hansi Flick last season, something of a mirror image in cutting inside onto his favoured right foot from the left, bagging his 11 goals and seven assists at a rate of one every 133 minutes.

Marginally less prolific than his Bayern teammate last year, their roles are somewhat reversed at international level. Germany coach Joachim Löw tends to use Gnabry right up front, and he has repaid that faith with 16 goals and six assists in just 23 caps to date.

So, why on Earth would Gnabry be the player to take a hit for the team? Well, for one, he and Nagelsmann have previous experience of working together, the Arsenal academy graduate spending the 2017/18 season on loan at Hoffenheim when the inbound Bayern coach was still in the PreZero Arena dugout, and that's exactly what happened then.

Watch: A Gnabry goal for Hoffenheim few right-backs could dream of

"I think he can do it," Nagelsmann said following a 4-2 win over Mainz in which Gnabry had assisted Adam Szalai for the opener from right-back. "I see great potential in his future. It's always good when a player is multi-faceted and can play several positions. He has a lot of room for his pace, especially from deeper positions."

Gnabry may have since proven himself as a deadly attacker for Bayern and Germany, but Bayern are also unlikely to spend big after securing Dayot Upamecano's signature, and indeed Nagelsmann's, from Leipzig, and with Benjamin Pavard a more conservative option in the position, Gnabry could find himself filling in from time to time, especially if the coach's predilection for a 3-4-3 carries over from the Red Bull Arena.

Alphonso Davies
Then: Left-back
Now: Left wing-back

Alphonso Davies (l.) delivered one of the greatest assists in UEFA Champions League history when Bayern beat Barcelona 8-2 last August. - IMAGO / Poolfoto UCL

While Gnabry may have to move deeper in 2021/22, Davies can expect to make the opposite journey under Nagelsmann. The Canadian has done an admirable job since dislodging French World Cup winner Lucas Hernandez as first-choice left-back under first Niko Kovac, and then his predecessor, Flick, in 2019. Voted into the UEFA Champions League Squad of the Season in 2020, it is easy to forget he actually began his career in midfield.

The fastest player in Bundesliga history when he clocked 22.7mph in Bayern's 1-0 win over Werder Bremen last June, Davies fits the profile of a player who needs to get up and down the touchline to both attack and defend. Bayern may need to go shopping or think outside the box on the other flank, but on the left, Davies' skill-set makes Nagelsmann's life easy.

Watch: Davies under the tactical microscope

In some sense, the youngster has been keeping his powder dry playing as part of a back four, and if you need more evidence of his potential attacking returns, look no further than his experience with Canada, where he invariably lines up higher up the field and has tallied nine goals and 13 assists in 23 international outings.

Nudging Davies forward also solves a recent Bayern conundrum: whom to play at left-back, Davies or Hernandez? In a 3-4-3 they both start most weeks, the battling Hernandez on the left of a back three, Davies left unencumbered up ahead to try and repeat his international numbers at club level.