Tuesday, April 27, 2021
Leipzig facing massive upheaval
Nagelsmann triggers a quake with Bavaria
By Ullrich Kroemer, Leipzig
Julian Nagelsmann leaves RB Leipzig and goes to FC Bayern. Not only the coach leaves, sports director Markus Krösche is also leaving the club. What effects do these departures have on the ambitions, squad, style of play and power structure of the Bundesliga club?
Julian Nagelsmann actually loves the stage on the RB Leipzig press podium. There is probably no other head coach in the Bundesliga who comes across as cool even in tricky phases and always has a casual saying on his lips. But on Tuesday afternoon, the 33-year-old trainer from RB Leipzig and future coach of FC Bayern Munich felt visibly uncomfortable in his skin. Nagelsmann looked tense and nervous and only thawed at the end when he grinned and wondered how he would actually get to Munich in the summer – without his own car.
He wants to rent a T6 bus in which his intimate friend Benjamin Glück (video analyst and assistant trainer) and Timmo Hardung (head of the licensed player department / team manager) can ride. Otherwise, asserted Nagelsmann, he would not “pack” any other actors from Leipzig simply out of gratitude for the release. Nevertheless, the quake from Cottaweg, which RB shook through at the beginning of this week with the departures of Nagelsmann and sports director Markus Krösche, leaves further cracks in the construction of the table runner-up.
First of all, of course, with regard to the championship ambitions that Nagelsmann brings to Munich in the Bulli. Club boss Oliver Mintzlaff emphasized: “We are in attack mode. Julian will feel us.” There will be a “full attack on Julian Nagelsmann and FCB” in the next season. “We are not scaling down our ambitions,” said the RB CEO. In fact, by clearing Nagelsmann, Mintzlaff decided to break off the overtaking maneuver, cut back to the right and let the Boliden Bayern take precedence in the championship in the medium term.
Three candidates have already been chosen
Of course, it would have been difficult for RB with Nagelsmann to become champions in the next two years, but the coaching genius, which is in demand around the world, would have brought Leipzig little by little closer. Now the Leipzigers are not only weakened by the departure of Nagelsmann, but have also strengthened their worst competitors – a lost six-point game, so to speak, with plenty of financial compensation, of course. Of course, the Leipzigers will also come to the Champions League with a coach from the shortlist candidate trio Jesse Marsch (Salzburg), Oliver Glasner (Wolfsburg) and Pellegrino Matarazzo (Stuttgart), but none of the three is an exceptional talent like Nagelsmann.
The Leipzig style of play will certainly move a bit away from Nagelsmann’s ball possession football, which is increasingly drawing closer to Manchester City. But that doesn’t have to be bad, as the Leipzigers sometimes exaggerated with ball possession orgies and sometimes had little speed and force in the attack. Turning the screw back half a turn can make sense.
There will be a change in the RB squad. Most interesting will be how young stars like Dani Olmo, Christopher Nkunku and Angeliño react to the disappointment, all of whom came to RBL because of Nagelsmann. Mintzlaff emphasized that in the coming season there should be 21 players instead of the previous 25. Three new additions have already been confirmed; Mintzlaff also revealed that he was thinking “about one or the other approach”. Means that more than a handful must / may go.
Leipzig loses a trump card
Some like Marcel Sabitzer and Ibrahima Konaté, who are willing to change, should rather encourage Nagelsmann’s departure in their decision to leave the club. For others like national player Marcel Halstenberg, the place in the slimmed-down squad could be tight. But to a certain extent, the upheaval is priced in by the RB club leadership, after all, the club also has to earn transfer millions from time to time to pay off debts with investor Red Bull, to meet financial fair play, to finance the expensive stadium renovation and continue with new ones Investing players. For example, the strikers Patson Daka (Salzburg) and Adam Hlozek (Sparta Prague) are under discussion. But the trump Nagelsmann (previously: Rangnick) can no longer play RB in contract talks.
Lawn ball sport can get over the loss of competence due to the departure of sports director Markus Krösche. The ex-Paderborn never got beyond a supporting role in his two years at RB. In the background, others like chief scout Christopher Vivell are said to have pulled the strings anyway. Florian Scholz, Commercial Director Sports, is also gaining more and more influence. Since it should stay with this trio constellation, the new man will not be a very prominent name, as the influence and power of the sports director at RB are limited.
Not to be neglected is the huge impact of the decision on the RB fans. They’re overflowing with rage on social networks. “We are deeply disappointed in you, Julian Nagelsmann,” writes the Bulls Club, one of the oldest and largest fan clubs on Twitter. Another supporter comments on the statements by Mintzlaff and Nagelsmann as “meaningless platitudes, not a word to the fans or the weeks-long streaky theater that was played to us here. Your external impact is simply devastating.”
And another describes Nagelsmann as the “biggest mistake in the history of RBL”. The “rational reasons” that Mintzlaff cited for the separation are difficult to convey to the emotional followers who had identified with Nagelsmann and the master’s ambitions and were now seriously disappointed. Especially in times when the distance without visiting the stadium is great. It will take time for the cracks from the quake in Leipzig to be cemented.