Nagelsmann: “I’m not tense, just angry”
Bayern’s coach looked ahead to Tuesday’s clash at Camp Nou: “The last four matches against Barcelona don’t count, it’s a completely different team”.
Bayern Munich coach Julian Nagelsmann appeared before the media to look forward to Tuesday’s Champions League meeting with Barcelona. The German coach, who has come under fire after his team were held to three consecutive draws in the Bundesliga, appeared optimistic about getting a good result against Barça - who have been flourishing with former Bayern star, Robert Lewandowski.
Barcelona: We know them. But despite that, I have told my team about the new players they have who are already taking on an important role, just like Lewy. What happened in our last four meetings against them does not count, this is a completely different team. They way they press after losing the ball is reminiscent of Xavi’s playing days. They have young players to watch out for like Pedri and Gavi. Xavi has been doing a great job, they will be a tough opponent.
Lewandowski: I would spend more time thinking about how long he has left in if he was still here with us. I hope he remains in the game, playing at the highest level for as long as possible. His physical capabilities give him a good chance of that happening. I’m sure that he will end the season with around 40 goals in LaLiga.
Reception from the fans: I’ll shake his hand if I see him before the match. But I don’t know if I’ll see him beforehand, it’s usually after the game. I would be happy if our fans received him warmly, for me it is normal with a player who has been part of the Bayern family.
Lewy, the biggest threat: I don’t know if he’s the most dangerous, they also have good players to assist him. Then, he creates the spaces for them to assist him. In front of goal he is the most dangerous. But if you don’t give him space, it won’t be easy for him.
Starting XI: I have a lot of the positions clear in my mind, but not the centre-backs. They are all playing well. Upamecano played a few games against Lewandowski in the Bundesliga, he also defended against him in training. Next to Kimmich will be Sabitzer. Goretzka is fine, but it would be too much to line him up after the 94 minutes he played against Stuttgart. That’s why Sabitzer was left out of the starting eleven, also taking into account Barcelona’s counter-attacking qualities and that we need a player who can handle that aspect of their game.
Mané: He needs to finish off moves in games. He’s struggling in front of goal and that’s not easy, especially when you are a self-critical person. He also needs and wants to integrate into the team in the best possible way, but we don’t have that much time. I tell him to play with a kind of positive arrogance. However, I have nothing critical to say about him. I am happy with what he is showing and I am sure that he will reach his best version.
Atmosphere: The sensations inside the locker room are much better than last season. What happens is that the small details decide what is perceived from the outside, especially lately. In the end, they are still details that stopped us from getting better results. I know we should have more points. However, I am happy.
Decisive match: I don’t like to label matches decisive. Apart from this game against Barcelona, we will have room for improvement in the coming weeks. In general, it is a good test for us against a great team who are in a good moment. But I don’t consider it decisive for the group, although it is important considering that you can’t afford to slip up in the Champions League. Not to mention the excitement that winning this type of match would generate in the dressing room.
Tense: Obviously I prefer to win. There’s always a lot of talk - especially in such a big club where everyone gives their opinion and gives you advice. But I’m not tense, just angry. I don’t like not winning. You should see me when I lose to playing paddle...
Müller: “Lewy didn’t give us a reason for his departure”
Thomas Müller joined the coach in answering question from the press.
Lewandowski: Sadio (Mané) has been joking for days to make sure Lewy doesn’t get the ball. Seriously though, it will be up to all of us to keep him out of the game. That usually happens when he is able to receive it inside or close to the area. We will try to avoid it. Also try to recover the ball as soon as possible after losing it, something that has been a hallmark of our game. It has to be said we drew our last few games against teams that focus more on defending than competing. Maybe that’s a stat for the optimists.
Lewy’s legacy: It will be a long time before this great striker belongs to the past of this club. Maybe he never will. But that doesn’t help us in any way. I have a great relationship with him. He didn’t give us a reason for his departure. Each person is in charge of their decisions and we found out little by little through the media. It’s normal. I wouldn’t go naming clubs in the locker room either.
Mané: My relationship with Lewy went from bad to better over the years. We didn’t get along that well from the start. Now the situation is different. All of our forwards can occupy any of the four positions in attacks. Although we no longer have that No.9 that we all used to look out for; but it can also be to our advantage considering that the rivals no longer know which our our forwards will be picked out.
Difference between the Bundesliga and Champions League: There is a difference, of course. Whether you like it or not, there are games that are special. Considering how Barcelona have started the season, it is an extra motivation for us to get our engine revving. It is something that happens in the subconscious in these types of matches.
Famous 2-8 victory: When big European clubs meet, everyone is highly motivated, regardless of previous matches. They have enjoyed a great start to the season, you have fun watching them and I am sure that another Barcelona awaits us - a different one to previous games.