Was that the turning point? At FC Bayern and also at the young football magician Jamal Musiala?
Julian Nagelsmann is in good spirits that the liberating Munich 4-0 in the DFB Cup at FSV Mainz 05 on Sunday (5.30 p.m. / DAZN) in the next away game against VfL Wolfsburg with ex-Bayern coach Niko Kovac also the first point game win succeed in 2023.
New Bayern "desire" to win
"The desire to win" is back in the Munich star ensemble after the frustration of the draw last week, the coach feels. "The team has high expectations of itself and gives the answers themselves. That's a good sign," said Nagelsmann. The mood curve in Munich is rising. But it is now time to "score three points again in the Bundesliga".
Its Time. Especially since Bayern, after the stuttering start to the league with three 1-1 draws in the Volkswagen Arena at the end of the 19th matchday, could suddenly find themselves in the Jäger role that they hadn’t experienced for a long time. All pursuers from Union Berlin to Eintracht Frankfurt can present on Saturday. Union (36 points) and RB Leipzig (35) could then overtake Munich (37) with victories. And Borussia Dortmund (34) draw level in a duel with Freiburg, who have the same number of points.
Musiala has the momentum again
However, there are some aspects that suggest that Bayern are picking up speed again just before the Champions League cracker at Paris Saint-Germain. Even if a lot revolved around the remarkable debut of last-minute signing João Cancelo in Mainz, the difference to the Bundesliga sadness beforehand was clearly visible in one player: Jamal Musiala.
Together with his teammates, the 19-year-old national player got out of the low at the beginning of the year. The knot solver was his fine goal to make it 2-0. "After a while without a goal", also at his first World Cup tournament in Qatar, it was good "that I broke the spell," Musiala himself commented.
Nagelsmann explicitly singled out the young star from the Mainz collective on Friday. "For me it was a world-class performance from Jamal, defensively very strong and offensively his goal was sensational. He also initiated a lot of good actions. He had a good grip in tackles." The World Cup low seems to have been overcome.
"He's just very young and a World Cup is also very taxing for the mind. He was also very diligent at the World Cup, tried a lot," said Nagelsmann. "Jamal has a good winning mentality. He's lacked momentum lately. But he tries to influence things on the field. He did it very, very, very well in Mainz. And I'm convinced that he will do it in Wolfsburg will do very well."
Bayern are in debt
Just in time for Musiala's exciting showdown with world champion Lionel Messi in Europe's premier class, Munich's world star-to-be seems to be igniting again. Mainz was definitely a turning point for him, also in terms of the attitude and approach of the entire team. "We went into the game with a certain hunger. We worked really hard. We showed the things that we didn't do well before, off the ball and everything."
The lull ended not only with him with the 13th competitive goal of the season: Four goals in Mainz were one more than the three 1-1 wins against Leipzig, Cologne and Frankfurt. Confirming Mainz's performance is now Bayern's job in Wolfsburg. "It would be great if we could talk about a starting shot," said Thomas Müller. He warned: "In the league we are absolutely responsible."
Kovac still sees Bayern as favorites
Especially since the Wolfsburg under Kovac are showing a positive development, as Nagelsmann also emphasized. VfL have a lot of speed and recently "raised all offensive statistics in a green area". While Bayern only scored three goals in three Bundesliga games in 2023, Wolfsburg celebrated four times as often (12 goals). Kovac still knows about the class of his ex-team. On Friday he said about FC Bayern: "We won't let the results fool us. They're still the big favorites for the championship title. We're playing against none other than the best team in the league."