Bayern Munich: Three things to watch for in season opener

Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski has been best goal scorer in Europe. (Photo by CHRISTOF STACHE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski has been best goal scorer in Europe. (Photo by CHRISTOF STACHE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /

The 2021/22 Bundesliga season kicks off for Bayern Munich on Friday as they hit the road to face Borussia Monchengladbach. Die Roten beings their title defense against a Monchengladbach side that finished in eighth place last season. The two clubs split their season series during the 2020/21 campaign with Monchengladbach winning in January and Bayern victorious in May. Here are three things to watch for ahead of the season opener for Die Roten.

Julian Nagelsmann at the helm

The Nagelsmann era is underway and his first Bundesliga fixture as the manager of Bayern awaits. Having failed to win a preseason fixture, Nagelsmann is not off to a great start but those results will be quickly forgotten if the defending champions can put together a dominant performance on Friday. Nagelsmann has had relative success coaching against Monchengladbach in recent seasons.

While at Leipzig, he registered a record of 2-1-1 against Monchengladbach in the Bundesliga. Nagelsmann won’t be the only manager making his Bundesliga debut for his new club on Friday. Adi Hutter will be at the helm of Monchengladbach for the first time in the German top flight.

The former Eintracht Frankfurt manager was able to hold Leipzig to a 1-1 draw twice last season when he faced Nagelsmann. Both managers will be looking to get off to the best start possible and it promises to be an intriguing battle.

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Robert Lewandowski looks to open his account

After scoring 41 goals last season in the Bundesliga, all eyes will once again be on Lewandowski. The sensational striker recorded a hat-trick the last time these two clubs met in the Bundesliga and he will be looking for a similar performance on Friday.

When Lewandowski scores, Rekordmeister usually ends up coming away with all three points. Die Roten failed to win just five of the 25 Bundesliga fixtures Lewandowski scored in last season. If he is allowed the time and space he needs to make an impact in the penalty area then Bayern should be able to take a victory away from their first match of the season.

New look backline

With David Alaba and Jerome Boateng departing after the conclusion of last season, Bayern will have a new look backline. Headline the new additions is Dayot Upamecano who will likely be in the starting 11 against Monchengladbach. Additionally, Josip Stanisic could feature at left-back if Alphonso Davies is not yet available to go the full 90 minutes.

Die Roten conceded 44 goals last season in the Bundesliga which was one of their few weaknesses in the title-winning campaign. The number of goals conceded will certainly be something to watch for not only in this match but for the whole season as well. If the backline improves under Nagelsmann then it would be a great success for his first season at the helm.

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Monchengladbach provides a great first test for Bayern’s backline especially since they defeated them 2-0 in a friendly a few weeks prior to this match. With veteran goalscorers like Lars Stindl and young playmakers such as Florian Neuhaus, the hosts have the capability to generate high-quality goal-scoring opportunities.