After an agonizing wait of nearly three months, Bundesliga returned for Bayern Munich last Friday. The defending champions dropped points in the first game of the Ruckrunde as RB Leipzig held Die Roten for a 1-1 draw. Julian Nagelsmann’s men will be looking to bounce back on Tuesday against FC Koln.
The second half of the season is set to be unique for Bayern as they are set to play more games than usual. The World Cup in December has made sure that Ruckrunde will be jampacked with games. Apart from seeing how Bayern copes with this intense schedule, here are three things to watch out for in the second half of the season.
Efficiency in the final third
Die Roten had a mixed first half of the season when it comes to their performances in the final third. The Bavarian club started the campaign on fire, scoring loads of goals. However, they went through a lean patch during September. The goal-scoring woes during this month made sure Bayern went on a winless run of four league games, the first time in nearly two decades.
Nagelsmann decided to use a natural number nine after the first international break. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting’s introduction to the team changed Die Roten’s fortunes. The fluidity in the attack returned with the use of Cameroon international as the focal point of the attack. With several big games coming thick and fast in Ruckrunde, it will be intriguing to see how Nagelsmann maintains consistency and efficiency in the final third.
Rotation under Julian Nagelsmann
The intense second half of the season is going to test the strength of Bayern’s squad. The Bavarian club is competing across all fronts, so squad rotation will be crucial to have the best chance of winning these trophies.
Nagelsmann has largely relied on fielding a consistent team, but the German coach will have to rotate smartly in Ruckrunde to keep players fresh. Despite the winter break, the cramped schedule of games will lead to tiredness. Moreover, smart rotation of the team keeps the team morale high and healthy competition in the squad leads to better collective performances.
Young players getting more responsibility
Bayern’s standout player this season has been Jamal Musiala. The youngster has shone in the final third, taking up the scoring mantle and consistently creating chances for his teammates. He ended up becoming Germany’s player of the year in 2022 for his exploits for the country. It will be fair to say that he is Bayern’s player of the season until now.
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Along with Musiala, the likes of Alphonso Davies and Mathys Tel are also set for the big second half of the season. It will be intriguing to see how all three players perform in key roles against tough teams in Europe and Bundesliga. Musiala has thrived with added responsibility this season. It remains to be seen if other young players in the squad also step up during Ruckrunde, while Musiala looks to maintain consistency in his performances.