— Sports

On the verge of another German title, Bayern looks to future

DÜSSELDORF, Germany (AP) – Besides planning for a record-extending ninth straight Bundesliga title, Bayern Munich has also spent much time preparing for the future. Bayern can win yet another label on Saturday even before kickoff against Borussia Mönchengladbach if Borussia Dortmund beats second-place Leipzig earlier in the day. Regardless, a Bayern victory would make sure of the title.

Bayern has been a sure thing since beating Leipzig last month. Still, a 2-1 loss to Mainz in their previous match on April 24 delayed the celebrations.

“We rediscovered our hunger in the two weeks where we didn’t play,” Bayern striker Thomas Müller said. “That gave us time to recover physically and mentally. In the first week of training, we had real fun and worked well. So, we are focused on the game.”

In the meantime, club management has forged ahead with planning for next season in the wake of Hansi Flick’s decision to quit as coach. The Flick is favored to take over the German national team after Joachim Löw steps down following this year’s European Championship.


Instead, Julian Nagelsmann will join Bayern from Leipzig to transform Flick’s successful but aging team. His five-year contract is unusually long for Bayern and accompanied by a clearout of familiar faces.

David Alaba has been at the club for 13 years but is leaving after Bayern balked at the cost of renewing his contract. Defensive midfielder Javi Martinez is off after nine years. Jerome Boateng, another center-back from the 2020 Champions League final, will depart in Munich after ten years.

The squad already lacks depth, so much will depend on the quality of replacements.

Except for a long-planned move for Leroy Sané, recent arrivals like right back Bouna Sarr and midfielder Marc Roca were generally underwhelming. That contributed to the tension between Flick and sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic. Bayern defended Salihamidzic by saying the club couldn’t spend more during a pandemic, so blockbuster signings like Dortmund forward Erling Haaland seem unlikely. The only confirmed signing for next season is defender Dayot Upamecano, who is joining from Leipzig and Nagelsmann.

The new coach is also expected to get more out of Lucas Hernandez, the France defender. The latter remains Bayern’s club-record signing after joining for 80 million euros ($96 million) in 2019 but has become a rotation player. Flick prefers Alphonso Davies at left-back, and Hernandez hasn’t always looked comfortable in a central role. Bayern’s most prominent star could become its biggest problem. Robert Lewandowski’s incredible scoring form – 43 goals this season, an eyewatering 55 in 2019-20 – has made it almost impossible for Bayern to think about life without the prolific Polish striker.young center forward within the club.

Joshua Zirkzee started 2020-21 as a candidate for that role, but the 19-year-old Dutchman didn’t score for Bayern – or even its reserve team – in the first half of the season, and he hasn’t cut since in an injury-hit loan spell to Italian club Parma.

Still, it would take a big shock for Bayern to lose the German title next season. Leipzig is starting its rebuild under Jesse Marsch when Nagelsmann goes, and Dortmund looks set to lose at least some of its young stars, likely Haaland and Jadon Sancho.

Bundesliga title No. 10 is the bare minimum for Bayern’s new era.

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Molly Aronson

I'm an award-winning blogger who enjoys all things creative but is especially passionate about lifestyle design. I blog over at mehlogy.com I love that I get to share my passion for healthy living, fashion, fitness, and travel with readers from all over the world.

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