, August 03, 2021

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Bundesliga managerial dominos could shake up the order of German football


  •   3 min reads
Bundesliga manager changes
Jesse Marsch will be making the leap from RB Salburg to RB Leipzig. Christian Bruna/EPA.

Bundesliga fans could be forgiven for having one eye on next season. The 2020/21 campaign isn’t over yet, but clubs are already making moves in preparation for the summer. Hansi Flick, for instance, will leave Bayern Munich once the club has lifted its eighth successive Bundesliga title in just a few weeks’ time. The 56-year-old is widely expected to succeed Joachim Low as Germany national team boss once Euro 2020 is out of the way.

Bayern Munich have wasted no time in finding their own successor, with Julian Nagelsmann already confirmed as their next manager. The 33-year-old has been seen as German soccer’s next great manager for a number of years and now he will have the chance to fulfil that prophecy at the helm of the country’s biggest and most successful club.

American Jesse Marsch will take charge at RB Leipzig this summer having coached under the Red Bull umbrella in Austria and New York. Borussia Dortmund will also have a new manager for the start of next season with Marco Rose signed to swap Borussia Monchengladbach for the Westfalenstadion.

Gladbach have already bagged Eintracht Frankfurt’s Adi Hutter as Rose’s replacement with RB Leipzig sporting director Ralf Rangnick reportedly in talks to take charge at Deutsche Bank Park this summer. Meanwhile, Bayer Leverkusen are in the market for a new manager following Peter Bosz’s dismissal in March.

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The managerial carousel that started spinning in the Bundesliga a few weeks ago has the potential to alter the order at the top of the German game. The 2021/22 Bundesliga season promises to be the most compelling in a long time with so many unanswered questions attached to so many different teams.

Of course, Bayern Munich will start as favourites to retain their title, but there are no guarantees Nagelsmann will settle quickly in his new surroundings. At RB Leipzig, the 33-year-old has earned himself a reputation as one of the game’s sharpest tactical minds. He likes to switch between formations and strategies, but Bayern Munich’s squad is built to play in an orthodox 4-2-3-1 shape.

At the time of his hiring by Dortmund, Rose was seen as one of the Bundesliga’s best managers, but Gladbach’s underwhelming form since then has prompted some to reconsider. Meanwhile, Marsch has never coached in the Bundesliga before. While the American has impressed at Champions League level as Red Bull Salzburg boss, the stakes at RB Leipzig will be far higher.

If Dortmund or RB Leipzig can hit the ground running under new managers, there’s a chance Bayern Munich could be vulnerable. Equally, though, if Nagelsmann’s ideas take root at the Allianz Arena the Bavarians could be out of sight by Christmas, as has become customary in recent times.

There is a lot of jostling for position in the Bundesliga right now. RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund are the only clubs with the resources to truly challenge Bayern Munich’s supremacy. The Black and Yellows under Rose could be quite the threat to the Bavarians if they can convince Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho to stay for another season.

This season, Juventus was toppled as Italian soccer’s predominant force. Rangers stopped Celtic’s march to 10 league titles in a row while Atletico Madrid and Sevilla are in the thick of the title race in Spain. Then there’s Ligue 1 where Paris Saint-Germain are struggling to keep hold of their crown.

German soccer could be next to endure a reshuffle. Bayern Munich were set to go through a generational transition even before Nagelsmann was confirmed as Flick’s successor, with David Alaba and Jerome Boateng on their way out. Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller and Manuel Neuer are all in their 30s - they cannot be counted on forever.

For Bayern Munich to be toppled, though, a contender must emerge from the pack. The problem is there isn’t much to separate the top eight clubs in the German top flight at this moment in time. Are Gladbach in seventh really that much worse than Wolfsburg in third? Can RB Leipzig and Dortmund truly be sure of their place in the Bundesliga’s top four when there is so much uncertainty around the division?

Whatever happens in the Bundesliga next season, it will no doubt entertaining. It will be worth your attention. There will be new storylines and narratives to follow. Some teams will succeed under new stewardship and others won’t. German soccer is poised for something new. Or perhaps, when the dust settles a year from now, we'll realize that it's not.

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