Hopeful of new era, Bayern presents coach Julian Nagelsmann

BERLIN (AP) — Bayern Munich has won an unprecedented nine straight Bundesliga titles, five German Cups and the Champions League twice in the past decade.

It isn’t enough.

Bayern CEO Oliver Kahn and sporting director Hasan Salihamidžić said Wednesday they wanted to “start a new era” as they presented new coach Julian Nagelsmann.

“Expectations are not small at Bayern Munich,” said Kahn, who took over the club’s top position from former executive board chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge last week.

Kahn, a former goalkeeper who helped Bayern win 23 titles between 1994 and 2008, said the club had watched Nagelsmann’s progress at rivals Hoffenheim, then Leipzig and seen “that he has the quality to take teams to the next level.”

Nagelsmann’s predecessor, Hansi Flick, left after claiming back-to-back Bundesliga crowns, and a clean sweep of every possible title in his first season. But well-publicized disagreements with Salihamidžić contributed to his decision to leave despite having a contract for two more seasons.

“Now we’re looking forward,” said Salihamidžić, who wished Flick the best in his new role as Germany coach. “We’ll stay in touch because he’ll be working with our players, hopefully successfully.”

Nagelsmann will be Bayern’s third youngest coach at 34 years and 15 days when he takes charge of the season-opening game against fifth-tier Bremer SV in the first round of the German Cup on Aug. 7.

“I was already a Bayern fan for many years as a child and teenager. And it was always a dream to be coach here,” said Nagelsmann, who played for youth teams at city rival 1860 Munich and Augsburg before injuries cut short his playing career.

Nagelsmann became the Bundesliga’s youngest-ever coach in February 2016 when he took over at Hoffenheim, aged 28. He steered the club away from relegation danger in his first season, then to fourth in his next.

Leipzig was paying attention.

After taking over at Leipzig in 2019, Nagelsmann led the team to third in the Bundesliga and the Champions League semifinals. Last season, his team pushed Bayern the hardest before eventually finishing runner-up in the Bundesliga.

When Flick said he wanted to leave, Nagelsmann was Bayern’s first choice to take over.

“It wasn’t easy, but we managed it with Leipzig,” Salihamidžić said, alluding to a bigger than usual settlement fee.

“I’m delighted that we have Julian here. We’ve made a statement with the five-year contract. We want Julian to start a new era here. Julian is pure soccer.”

Nagelsmann, who is younger than Bayern captain Manuel Neuer, acknowledged he faced a different challenge in coaching a team of stars used to success.

“I’d be lying if I said there was no difference,” Nagelsmann said before his first training session. “I think it’s a question of the way and means you use to deal with the players, how you talk to them. Every player at FC Bayern wants talks, that you care for them, that you understand them, try to understand what it’s like in their shoes, their wishes, but also to quietly develop them and make them better.”

Nagelsmann will be familiar with French defender Dayot Upamecano, whose transfer from Leipzig was agreed before his own. But he will have to do without defenders David Alaba and Jérôme Boateng, and midfielders Javi Martínez and Douglas Costa, who have all left.

Nagelsmann said he was hopeful the club would reach a deal with Germany midfielder Leon Goretzka, whose contract expires at the end of the coming season.

“I’d be very happy to also have him for many years of the era that we’ve talked about already,” said Nagelsmann, who called Goretzka “one of the most dangerous midfielders in front of goal in Europe.”

The new Bayern coach also praised the winger Leroy Sané, who endured an ineffective European Championship for Germany.

“He has his qualities, heart, unbelievable speed, he’s one of the best one-on-one players, strong with the ball. We’re going to need a lot of that because we’ll often be up against deep-sitting opponents where there’s little room,” said Nagelsmann.

“I’m no wizard, no magician. It’s about showing in training the spaces he should be, where he can bring his qualities to the field.”

Bayern opens its Bundesliga defense at Borussia Mönchengladbach on Aug. 13.


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