Thursday October 21, 2021
“Well done Julian”
Nagelsmann coaches his Bavarians from the hotel
By Stephan Uersfeld
Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann falls out at Benfica Lisbon with an infection. But that doesn’t bother him. Although Dino Toppmöller is on the sidelines, the trainer keeps reporting back from the hotel and giving decisive instructions. The revolution has only just begun.
Julian Nagelsmann is a big technology fan. At 34, he embraces the possibilities of time. At last he thought out loud about audio signals in his players’ ears. Communication whenever possible. The in-game coaching despite the volume of the fans in the stadiums that are now filling up again. “That is something that we absolutely need in football,” said Nagelsmann. “Ideally with a connection back that the player can communicate with the coaches.” At the moment this is not yet possible for a variety of reasons, but other things can. And Nagelsmann, the coaching fox from the future, made use of it in the 4-0 (0-0) at Benfica Lisbon.
The coach was known to have dropped out at the last moment due to an infection and it would therefore be easy to credit Bayern’s 13-minute goal show to his assistant Dino Toppmöller. For family reasons, he already carries the trainer gene. His father is the legendary Klaus Toppmöller, who briefly led Bayer Leverkusen to the top of European football in the early 2000s – only to establish the works club’s decades-long reputation. Three second places in the season finale. Vice-champions behind Borussia Dortmund, Champions League final defeat against Real Madrid, who could only win with a miracle goal by Zinedine Zidane and a 2: 4 bankruptcy in the DFB Cup final against Schalke 04. “Vizekusen” was an established term.
Bavaria doesn’t need a coach
So Dino Toppmöller’s father, Klaus, remained untitled in his coaching career. Only that of the coach of the year 2002 was awarded to him. It was the first honor of its kind ever. There is still a long way to go for Dino. He’s just the assistant coach. Julian Nagelsmann’s, whose staff he joined during the Leipzig period in summer 2020. Nagelsmann has already been honored. Back in 2017. When he stormed into the Champions League as a 29-year-old trainer with Hoffenheim, the SAP Group’s soccer laboratory. After that, his career really began. As with Klaus Toppmöller, she is still untitled. But that’s only a matter of time. He now coaches Bayern, about whom it is said that you don’t need a coach to win titles with them.
That is of course nonsense, even if a look at the Bundesliga winners in the last ten years suggests otherwise. But now it is the case that Bayern Munich always has an eye on the greatest triumph in club football. That’s winning the Champions League. And from 1990 onwards they did not get that in modern football “without a coach”, but with the internationally recognized luminaries Ottmar Hitzfeld, Jupp Heynckes and Hansi Flick. Nagelsmann wants to advance into this league and also revolutionize football a little.
On Wednesday he showed how important in-game coaching is. He was not in the stadium at all, but watched the game in the Estádio da Luz in Lisbon from the hotel due to illness. And there Nagelsmann already practiced what he later wants to do with his players when the legal basis for it is in place. He coached through an audio feed. Not the players, but the analysts in the stands of the stadium, who relayed the instructions they received directly to Xaver Zembrod on the coach’s bench. He passed it on to Dino Toppmöller and he acted accordingly.
Nagelsmann revolution has only just begun
“In the first half we had no contact during the game because the radio contact with the analysts didn’t work,” said Toppmöller after the game. So at first there were technical problems, but once these were resolved in the second half, the disaster for Benfica took its course. It was played for a good hour. It was 0-0. Which wouldn’t have been a problem for Bayern. But Bayern want to win every game. And that’s why something had to happen, the game should be more offensive.
Full-back Benjamin Pavard left the field after 66 minutes and Serge Gnabry was an offensive force. Then Bayern’s 13-minute show began and Gnabry was involved in three out of four goals. “You can see that Julian is sick, but very quick in his head,” remarked Toppmöller. “That was a great idea from him and a crucial point for us that we were much more dangerous with Serge. It was a brave decision. Well done, Julian.”
A decision that will only encourage Nagelsmann to push his idea forward. Until the players also have the buttons in their ears. The technical revolution has only just begun.