The 3-0 win at Arminia Bielefeld in the final fifth game of the season was only minutes away when midfielder Joshua Kimmich gave a full summary of the season. The “end too soon in the cup” and the “end too soon in the Champions League” are “perhaps not enough” for the claims of FC Bayern, he said, “we imagined more”. The fact that the tenth league title in a row against Borussia Dortmund can already be made perfect next Saturday is only limited consolation. “We’ll attack again next year,” Kimmich said, still combative, when he suddenly realized that maybe things shouldn’t be anticipated too much. “I didn’t want to end the season with that,” he apologized for his seemingly hasty summary.
But it wasn’t so rushed. In the DFB Cup and the Champions League, Bayern will hardly be sent back to the current competition by wild card, and they will use their nine-point lead in the Bundesliga over Dortmund, if not already next Saturday, then certainly in Mainz or against Stuttgart to win the title. The current season actually holds little potential for surprises for Bayern. Coach Julian Nagelsmann said: “The remaining games of the season are no longer about big development milestones, but only about results.” The 2021/22 season is already taking place in Munich; sure enough with the championship title, but at the same time with bitter disappointments in other competitions. That’s why Kimmich isn’t the only one talking about the upcoming season on TV, they are also discussing the club’s mid-term future behind closed doors intensely.
Amid uncertainty, Salihamidzic supposedly has good news
CEO Oliver Kahn was on a TV talk show on Sunday afternoon and for the first time conceded with such clarity that centre-forward Robert Lewandowski had begun to reflect after all the years of success with FC Bayern and wondered if he wanted to stay. in Munich. His contract expires in 2023; this summer would be the last opportunity for the club to generate a fee. Although Bayern are determined to go into the coming season with the striker, if necessary on an expiring contract – but it’s hard to estimate what dynamics will occur in the days and weeks to come. “We want him to stay as long as possible,” said Kahn of Lewandowski, who didn’t score in Bielefeld but at least set up Jamal Musiala’s goal to make it 3-0.
The same contractual requirements apply to Serge Gnabry, Manuel Neuer and Thomas Müller. Gnabry, the 2-0 scorer, said concisely on Sunday night that there was no news. The situation looks just as uncertain for him as it did for Lewandowski, with better news to be expected from Neuer and Müller. One is “in good talks”, Müller said in Bielefeld, “both sides want it, and I think that in the end a solution will be found. How, when, where: then you will know.” According to some rumors, an execution could be reported in the next few days; Müller and Neuer will probably sign new contracts until 2025.
Müller went on to explain in detail that the ending against Villarreal would still be annoying ‘in hindsight’, but you have to ‘accept it at some point. It has to go on’. How exactly, however, is the big question. The club is plagued by a certain fear of growing international insignificance, and in the midst of this big question, sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic announced supposedly good news in Bielefeld: “We will not put the club in danger by taking a risk,” he said.
Heart fans could have laughed spontaneously and thought liberated: Thank God he does not put the club in danger! But then some may have suddenly stopped and wondered: But what does this mean for FC Bayern’s future sporting ambitions?
These thoughts also torment the coach. “For me the question is always: where do you want to go in the long term?” Nagelsmann said after the win in Bielefeld when asked what he thought of Salihamidzic’s seemingly indecisive statements; once the sporting director said he wanted to further increase the quality of the squad, another time they wanted to complement each other above all.
Nagelsmann respects the financial limits of the club: “We have a difficult situation, we have the pandemic and financial conditions generally different from English and Spanish football,” he says. “That’s why we have to be creative and come up with solutions that may not bear fruit yet next year, but only in six, seven or eight years.” It was also a reaction to the fact that FC Bayern can neither afford nor want Dortmund’s Erling Haaland.
“I have my ideas,” Nagelsmann says of leading the team
But then Nagelsmann issued an urgent warning: “You shouldn’t miss many transfer windows, because you don’t have many, and that’s also the case in the private sector: if you want to have a high product of range in the At the end, it is also necessary that the production uses the best materials. We have to make this decision if we want to be among the top four in Europe in the long term. Nagelsmann is unlikely to make a clearer announcement to sporting director Salihamidzic and board boss Kahn again. Basically, he doesn’t even formulate a requirement, but he advises decision-makers to define the requirements: “Where do you want to go?
For Kimmich, one of the most important players in FC Bayern’s future planning, the answer seems clear when he says: “We will attack again next year.” He is not talking about the Bundesliga, but about the Champions League. Nagelsmann, however, publicly wonders whether FC Bayern still sees itself as one of Europe’s top four clubs in the future.
The Bavarians have returned from East Westphalia with such heavy thoughts as they ponder their future role in international competition. Nagelsmann is apparently waiting for signals from the board in this regard. “I have my ideas,” he says of leading the team. “And now let’s see what comes out of it this summer.”