Julian Nagelsmann will have "a lot of fun" with the quality at his disposal as Bayern Munich coach, according to his predecessor Hansi Flick.

Nagelsmann will replace Flick at Bayern ahead of next season, after two encouraging years at RB Leipzig.

Flick confirmed his impending departure from Bayern in April. He took over from Niko Kovac – initially on an interim basis – in November 2019 and will leave the club having won two Bundesliga titles, the Champions League, the DFL-Supercup, the DFB Pokal, the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup.

The 56-year-old's next position will be as head coach of the German national team; he will succeed Joachim Low after Euro 2020.

And Flick promised his successor at Bayern will have much joy taking charge of such a talented squad.

"I think Julian Nagelsmann will have a lot of fun with this team because it is of enormous quality and a great attitude," Flick told Bayern's official media channels.

"I wrote that to him too. It's a top team that knows what's important. And here you have to support them as a trainer."

It is not just Flick who will be leaving Bayern.

There is something of a changing of the guard ahead of next season, with CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and club stalwarts Javi Martinez, Jerome Boateng and David Alaba also departing – the latter having agreed to join Real Madrid.

Nagelsmann will have to contend with the fact Thomas Muller, Robert Lewandowski – who broke Gerd Muller's long-standing Bundesliga record of 40 goals in a single season – and Manuel Neuer are approaching the twilight of their respective careers, yet Flick hailed the performances of the three Bayern greats.

"Thomas [Muller] is a phenomenon for me," Flick said.

"He doesn't always get everything right in the game, but he brings you as a coach significantly more moments of joy than those in which you are upset about him – for example, when he goes out to the corner again, where he shouldn't be, loses the ball, and then a counter-attack emerges. 

"Sometimes I almost had to laugh and had the feeling that he was doing this on purpose to annoy me a little and get the adrenaline going again. But he means so much for the team and this club, someone like him will never be around again. What he has achieved in his career is unique."

Muller, along with Lewandowski, Neuer, Alaba and Joshua Kimmich, who has developed into a world class central midfielder, were five players Flick could always count on.

"For me and for all coaches, the central axis is the decisive element," he added. "And there has been nothing better in the world in the past two years. 

"I never really want to single someone out of my team because we can only achieve our goals together, but I could always rely on these five players 100 per cent, it was pure joy."

Bayern played 86 games under Flick, winning 70 and losing just seven, while only one of their nine draws finished goalless.

Flick's Bayern kept 34 clean sheets and scored 255 goals, averaging one every 30.4 minutes and outscoring their expected goals tally of 215.95, racking up 1,545 shots – the third-highest total in all competitions by a team from Europe's top five leagues, behind Manchester City (1,694) and Manchester United (1,557), though both of those Premier League sides played at least 17 more matches over the time in question.

Indeed, Bayern's goal tally under Flick makes them the top scorers from Europe's top five divisions in all competitions since he took charge, with Pep Guardiola's City (229) some way behind in second.

Bayern Munich have announced the signing of defender Omar Richards on a free transfer.

Richards moves to the Bundesliga champions from Reading, having made 42 appearances for the Championship club during the 2020-21 season.

The left-back, who represented England at under-21 level, has agreed a four-year deal that runs through until 2025.

"My move to Bayern is a great honour for me. A dream has come true," Richards told Bayern's official website.

"I'm proud to be wearing the shirt of one of the world's biggest clubs. I hope I can help the team continue to be successful in the future.

"My thanks to the management at Bayern for their trust. Our conversations were very convincing. I can't wait to be on the pitch for Bayern."

Bayern sporting director and board member Hasan Salihamidzic is delighted with the latest addition to the squad as the club prepare to begin life under new head coach Julian Nagelsmann.

They had already completed a deal to bring in Dayot Upamecano from RB Leipzig, strengthening a defensive unit no longer able to call upon David Alaba and Jerome Boateng.

"We're delighted Omar is coming to Bayern," Salihamidzic said.

"Omar is a technically gifted player on the left side of defence. He finds good solutions going forward, he's very alert and we trust him to play a good role in our team."

Richards made over a century of appearances for Reading after coming through their academy. The English club confirmed they did offer the 23-year-old a new contract, but he has instead opted to continue his career in the Bundesliga.

Borussia Dortmund managing director Hans-Joachim Watzke insists there is no economic need to sell Erling Haaland amid speculation he will remain in Germany until next year.

Haaland netted a double as Dortmund won the DFB-Pokal final 4-1 over RB Leipzig, with Jadon Sancho also chipping in with a brace.

The title is a major boost for Dortmund's hopes of retaining Haaland, who has been linked with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City and Chelsea this off-season.

Dortmund's uplift in Bundesliga form, which has seen them move into the Champions League spots, has also aided their cause to convince the Norwegian to stay.

"You always have fears in my job," Watzke said after Thursday's DFB-Pokal victory.

"We definitely want to keep Erling with us next season. You can see his value, you saw how committed he is last Saturday against Leipzig, with joy.

"Besides we still have it in our own hands, we just have to win twice more now. We have managed the club solidly for so many years, when we go into the second or third year of the coronavirus, then we have to take out a few loans at some point we will pay them back.

"But there is absolutely no economic need to sell him, regardless of whether it is a Europa League or Champions League."

Watzke also casually revealed that interim head coach Edin Terzic had extended his deal with the club to presumably work as an assistant under Marco Rose.

"Edin Terzic did a great job," he said. "He took over the team in December, it was half dead, and he brought it to life. That is a huge achievement at his first coaching station.

"He's holding the keys in his hand. He extended a long-term contract a few weeks ago.

"He's a Dortmund boy, he lives and breathes the club. If Edin wants to do something different, then we have to work with him. But we won't do that now."

Terzic was delighted with the DFB-Pokal success but remained focused on the bigger picture, with Dortmund determined to confirm a top four league spot with two games to play.

"That was definitely not our best game, but we found the key to success," he said.

"Now we all deserve to enjoy this evening tonight but the season is not over for us yet."

Outgoing Leipzig head coach Julian Nagelsmann, who will finish his time at the club without a trophy, said it was a "painful" loss.

"You can imagine that I'm not doing well but it's not about me, it's about the club," he said.

"It's painful. I know what the headlines are like now… We still have two Bundesliga games that are not that pleasant. I'm not thinking about my move [to Bayern Munich] now.

"I'm proud of the boys. "We weren't the worse team, we just scored fewer goals. Dortmund makes a lot out of a little."

Dayot Upamecano has claimed he turned down an opportunity to join Manchester United as a teenager because Ralf Rangnick presented such a persuasive alternative.

The defender, who will leave RB Leipzig to join Bayern Munich at the end of this season, was targeted by United as a teenage prospect when he was with French club Valenciennes.

He elected to turn down United and move to Austrian club Salzburg, Upamecano says, after being wowed by Rangnick's precise vision for his career.

At the time, Rangnick was sporting director for Salzburg and Leipzig, with both clubs part of the Red Bull empire, and talking Upamecano into a move proved one of many successes he achieved in that role.

United had tempted the youngster, however, and Upamecano told The Athletic: "I was a young boy. I wanted to sign for them straight away. Manchester United! But then my parents took me aside and said: 'Let's think carefully about this'.

"We thought about it for a long time and then decided that going 'etape par etape' [step by step] was the best option for me. Everything Ralf said came true."

Upamecano was loaned out to Liefering before returning to make an impact with Salzburg while still in his teens, and at the age of 18, in January 2017, he was moved through the ranks to join Leipzig.

Rangnick, who had already enjoyed one spell as head coach of Leipzig, returned for another in 2018, and Upamecano said: "Ralf was the most important coach for me. He's a professor, a scientist of football, and he also cares about everything. He's always there for you with advice on matters football and non-football, every single day."

Before joining Bayern, Upamecano has the chance on Thursday to land a DFB-Pokal title with Leipzig as they head into the final in Berlin against Borussia Dortmund.

Julian Nagelsmann, who succeeded Rangnick in 2019, has been another major influence on the career of Upamecano, who describes the 33-year-old as "an unbelievable manager".

Like Upamecano, Nagelsmann will also move to Bayern at the season's end.

"He really takes you to another level," Upamecano said. "For example, because of Julian, I have improved a lot in terms of opening the game from the defence with precise passes into the midfield, and he told me to use my dribbling abilities in order to create spaces going forward."

That is borne out by data that shows Upamecano has progressed significantly while at Leipzig.

Following his mid-season arrival in 2017, Upamecano had an overall passing accuracy of 78.6 per cent in the Bundesliga, while his accuracy with passes ending in the final third of the field was just 46.2 per cent.

These numbers belong firmly in Upamecano's past, because his precision now shows a marked improvement.

In 2017-18, he stepped up those percentages to 83.7 and 55 in the Bundesliga, while attempting 130 passes into the final third of the pitch.

But in 2019-20, his overall accuracy stood at 89.1 per cent and his accuracy into the final third was a healthy 74 per cent, with Upamecano attempting 232 balls into that attacking area in league games. Each figure put him in the top 10 for Bundesliga defenders who played at least 20 games.

This season has seen a minor step back, but an 88.5 per cent total accuracy and 70 per cent accuracy into the final third continues to reflect well on the French defender, a player United must sorely regret failing to recruit.

Lukas Klostermann admits it will hurt to see Julian Nagelsmann and Dayot Upamecano leave RB Leipzig for Bayern Munich – but he hopes they can depart after one last "beautiful moment".

Leipzig look set to finish second in the Bundesliga, given they lead Wolfsburg by four points with two rounds to go, and trophy glory could come on Thursday when they tackle Borussia Dortmund in the DFB-Pokal final.

A dress rehearsal in the league on Saturday saw Dortmund snatch a 3-2 victory that boosts their hopes of playing in next season's Champions League, but the cup final showdown in Berlin is a tough game to pick.

Coach Nagelsmann and star centre-back Upamecano are both heading for Bayern at the end of the season, so the game represents their final chance of snatching major silverware with Leipzig, a club that was established only 12 years ago and has come a long way since.

Right-back Klostermann, who will hope to be involved for Germany at Euro 2020, is preparing for reluctant farewells to Nagelsmann and Upamecano.

"Of course I am not that happy about it, that’s for sure," Klostermann told Stats Perform News.

"But I think the coach already told from the beginning that on a long-term perspective it would be his greatest wish to become coach of FC Bayern. But still, I would have wished that it happened a bit later than now. But if it's his big goal and dream, then I cannot be angry or annoyed because of him leaving.

"I think we showed in the past already a couple of times that we can compensate losses, just like how it was with Timo Werner. Some people said that we will fall into a deep hole but I think that was not the case."

Werner was a big-money acquisition by Chelsea last June, but Leipzig have pressed on without the Germany forward.

They will doubtless be strong next season too, but to keep losing major talents, whether from the playing or coaching ranks, cannot be conducive to building a team to challenge for the Bundesliga.

"For the club it would be good on a middle-term or long-term perspective to develop more and more, so the players don't need another club in Europe to play for the elite," Klostermann said. "We should achieve that ourselves, to be part of the elite. I know it's a long way to go, but I think this should be the long-term goal."

The 24-year-old Klostermann scored in the weekend loss to Dortmund, grabbing his first goal of the season, but said Leipzig "only played really well in the second half" of that game. It was tight in terms of the xG (expected goals) count, with Dortmund leading that by 1.7 to 1.5, enjoying the better chances despite Leipzig ending the game 8-4 ahead in terms of shots on target.

 

 

"I think that both teams will take the first game as a basis to analyse in order to change a couple of things in the final," he said. "That's why I think that the first game has an influence on the final. It's not that huge, as the game starts at 0-0 again, but the teams will analyse it and change certain things for the final."

Klostermann said it would "be incredibly important and great to finally win a title", adding: "For all of us it would be an extremely beautiful moment.

"Maybe even a bit more special for players and employees that have been part of the club for a longer time. Five, six, or seven years ago nobody believed that we could achieve that. Therefore, it's even nicer to have this chance to win a title. And for that, we better give everything on Thursday."

It remains to be seen whether Erling Haaland is fit to lead the Dortmund attack, after missing the weekend game with a muscle issue.

In the Bundesliga alone, Haaland has scored 25 goals in 26 games this season, with a shot conversion rate of 28.1 percent – among those to have netted more than five this term, only Max Kruse (37 percent) and Robert Lewandowski (32.5 percent) have put away a greater portion of their chances than the 20-year-old.

Should the Norwegian feature, Klostermann has no doubt about his threat, rating him in the top bracket of strikers.

"When you see how he plays right now, then for sure," Klostermann said.

"I think his numbers are showing that. If he plays, it will not be easier for us. But I am still very convinced that we can play better than we did last Saturday. Even if he plays, I give us good chances to win this final."

Recent upheaval might have leant a touch of anti-climax to Bayern Munich's latest title win but 2020-21 has shown their total dominance of the Bundesliga does not look likely to end anytime soon.

A thrilling quarter-final tie against Paris Saint-Germain saw Bayern's reign as European champions end as they were eliminated on away goals.

The aftermath of that dramatic Champions League showdown saw speculation mount over Hansi Flick's future and the Bavarian giants were in the unusual position of naming the coach of their nearest rivals, RB Leipzig's Julian Nagelsmann, as their next boss before domestic glory had been rubber stamped.

However, familiar celebrations can now begin after rivals Borussia Dortmund beat second-placed RB Leipzig 3-2, with the prints of some familiar faces all over this latest success.

FC Hollywood on cloud nine

Continuing a streak started by Jupp Heynckes' treble winners in 2012-13, Bayern have now won the Bundesliga for nine seasons in a row. Much as this statistic can draw mirth in some quarters over the competitiveness of Germany's top flight, it certainly did not always used to be this way.

Previously, the longest stretch of consecutive titles in a row was three, although on three of the four occasions this occurred, Bayern were the team responsible.

Indeed, Die Roten's 30th crown overall means they have won 52 per cent of the championships on offer since the Bundesliga was founded in 1963. The picture was a little more even before the turn of the century, with Bayern having now won 16 this millennium.

Bayern have equalled the record established by Juventus in Europe's top five leagues and can go clear on their own with 10 in a row next term, given the collapse of Andrea Pirlo's men in Serie A this season.

This era of success is built upon a number of mainstays. Thomas Muller, Manuel Neuer and outgoing trio David Alaba, Jerome Boateng and Javi Martinez have been present for all nine of the title wins.

Muller and Alaba now have 10 overall, setting a new player record in Germany, while Martinez is the only player in Bundesliga history to win the title as many as nine times without ever failing to do so in any season.

 

Hansi off with incredible record

Flick's involvement with Bayern has been more fleeting than the stalwarts above, but he has nevertheless left an indelible impression upon one of Europe's great clubs.

His record overall is 68 wins from 83 games, with eight draws and seven defeats. That amounts to an 82 per cent win percentage – a record for any Bayern coach.

Similarly, a goals-per-game average of 2.9 is better than any of his predecessors, numbers that were enhanced during the German record-breaking run of 23 straight wins in all competitions between February and September 2020.

Consequently, the trophies stacked up and Flick's six major honours amount to one every 14 games.

He averages 2.45 points-per-game from 55 Bundesliga outings, a figure only bettered by Pep Guardiola (2.52 PPG from 102 matches).

 

Hail King Lewy

Flick is likely to reflect fondly upon the fact his brief Bayern tenure has coincided with Robert Lewandowski taking his phenomenal goalscoring exploits to another level.

Even though the Bundesliga boasts the sought-after talents of Erling Haaland and Andre Silva, each of whom have managed 25 top-flight goals this season, the race for the Torjagerkanone has not even been particularly close.

Despite spending a spell on the sidelines recently, arguably decisively when it came to Bayern's derailed Champions League hopes, Lewandowski has scored an astounding 36 goals in 26 appearances, leaving him in direct competition with Gerd Muller's celebrated all-time mark of 40 goals in a single campaign, rather than his contemporaries.

The Poland superstar's haul comes from 112 shots overall and 55 on target. Lewandowski's goals-per-minute average of 60.9 is the best of any Bundesliga player to have scored multiple goals this season.

Among players with 10 goals or more, only Max Kruse (37.04 per cent) has a better shot conversion rate than Lewandowski's 32.14.

He has 30 non-penalty goals, outstripping an expected goals (xG) figure of 21. By way of comparison, Haaland's non-penalty goals to xG comparison is 23 to 19.8 and Silva's is 19 to 18.1.

Like most great strikers, Lewandowski has a fine foil in Thomas Muller, whose 17 assists are comfortably a Bundesliga best this season, placing him five clear of Eintracht Frankfurt's Filip Kostic on 11.

 

Kimmich the man in control

The foundations for Lewandowski's incredible exploits come from Bayern's smooth control of matches and no one has been more responsible for that in 2020-21 than Joshua Kimmich.

A defensive utility man when he broke into the Bayern team under Guardiola, Kimmich is now one of the premier midfielders in world football and at the heart of his club's considerable achievements.

Among Bundesliga midfielders, Kimmich has completed the second-most passes – behind Stuttgart's Wataru Endo (1,479) – with 1,465 at an accuracy of 87.8.

He has supplied 10 assists from 59 chances created, with Kostic (80), Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho (65) and Leipzig's Christopher Nkunku (63) the only players among those classed as midfielders by Opta to have crafted more openings for team-mates.

Kimmich has made 32 interceptions, 35 tackles and is joint-seventh among Bundesliga midfielders when it comes to his 184 recoveries.

 

Time for a Neu last line of defence?

Neuer is now the first goalkeeper to win nine Bundesliga titles, putting him one clear of Oliver Kahn.

However, it might be fair to ask whether his position as Bayern number one might come under renewed threat from understudy Alexander Nubel once Nagelsmann is in position.

Of goalkeepers to have played 20 or more Bundesliga games this season, five – Peter Gulacsi, Lukas Hradecky, Koen Casteels, Alexander Schwolow and Andreas Luthe – have conceded fewer than Neuer's 40.

Similarly, eight clean sheets have him fourth overall behind Gulacsi, Casteels and Stefan Ortega Moreno.

Neuer's 77 saves from 116 shots on target faced give him a save percentage of 65.52 – leaving him around the middle of the pack when it comes to the Bundesliga's elite stoppers. Florian Muller of Freiburg leads the way, repelling 71.07 per cent of shots to have threatened his goal.

Bayern's skipper has an expected goals on target (xGOT) against figure of 40.6. Having conceded 39 non-penalty goals, Neuer has conceded fractionally fewer goals than he would be expected to, given the quality of chances coughed up by a backline lacking its previous assurance. 

 

Nagelsmann could bring fresh solidity to Bayern that would be welcomed by the 35-year-old Neuer, whose aptitude outside of his penalty area enabled Flick to operate with such a daringly high defensive line, sometimes at the expense of the goalkeeper's personal statistics.

Leipzig's number one Gulacsi has only been breached 28 times, but has faced 41 fewer shots on target than Neuer this term, actually giving him a lower save percentage (62.67). His 25 non-penalty goals conceded align with an xGOT of 25.62.

The arrival of Nagelsmann and Leipzig's best defender Dayot Upamecano might well be great news for Neuer, one of the few Bayern players to emerge from this latest success with a few question marks over their form.

Julian Nagelsmann says he wants to "say goodbye with the title" after RB Leipzig secured a spot in the German DFB-Pokal final following a 2-1 extra-time win over Werder Bremen in Friday's semi-final.

Nagelsmann confirmed during the week that he would be joining Bayern Munich next season, ending his two-year tenure at Leipzig.

Leipzig were Champions League semi-finalists last season and finished Nagelsmann's debut season in third in the Bundesliga but he has not won any silverware for the club.

The Red Bulls appear destined to finish runners-up in this season's Bundesliga campaign but Nagelsmann is eyeing off a winning farewell in the DFB-Pokal.

"I would like to say goodbye with the title," Nagelsmann said. "We hope that we play a good cup final.

"When you see how the guys work so hard after such a turbulent week, of course it's great."

Emil Forsberg struck a late winner at the end of extra time after a scoreless 90 minutes to send Leipzig into the final against either Borussia Dortmund or Holstein Kiel.

Hwang Hee-chan had opened the scoring for Leipzig before Leonardo Bittencourt swooped on an error to equalise.

"At the end of the day, the close matches are the best wins," Nagelsmann said.

"It was very emotional and that releases more energy. The boys fought and gave everything.

"The turbulent week had no effect, everyone on the pitch saw that today. The boys had their hearts in the right place and deservedly won."

Emil Forsberg struck a late winner at the end of extra time as RB Leipzig overcame determined Werder Bremen 2-1 to reach the DFB-Pokal final in dramatic fashion.

After a scoreless 90 minutes, Leipzig took the lead with a goal from Hwang Hee-chan early in the first extra period, only for a Dayot Upamecano error to gift Leonardo Bittencourt the chance to equalise.

A penalty shoot-out appeared to be on the cards until Forsberg popped up in added time, Hwang heading the ball back across the face of goal for his fellow substitute to convert from close range.

The win means Julian Nagelsmann remains on course to deliver a first major trophy for Leipzig before his departure, the Bayern Munich-bound coach set to lead his current employers against either Borussia Dortmund or Holstein Kiel in the showpiece fixture in Berlin on May 13.

 

 

Julian Nagelsmann has given his approval to RB Leipzig's choice of Jesse Marsch as his successor and future Bundesliga rival.

American coach Marsch will arrive from Salzburg, close affiliates of the German side, at the end of the season to take over from Bayern Munich-bound Nagelsmann.

The 47-year-old has spent two years as Salzburg boss and previously worked as an assistant coach with Leipzig so knows the club well.

Marsch was also head coach of New York Red Bulls from 2015 to 2018, and Nagelsmann sees him as an easy fit at Leipzig.

"I'm very happy that RB Leipzig have been able to quickly find a successor in Jesse Marsch," Nagelsmann said. "It was important to me that the club find a good coach and that they wouldn't have to deal with too much uncertainty following the news of my departure.

"Jesse Marsch is a very emotional coach and has a good connection to his players. I will definitely look to speak with him at the end of the season. I wish him all the best here and that he continues the club's success."

Nagelsmann will perhaps be mindful of being too helpful as the coaches cross and he leaves for Bayern as Marsch arrives at Leipzig, given they have been Germany's top two sides this season.

Bayern look like scooping the Bundesliga title for a ninth consecutive year. With 71 points from 31 games, they head Leipzig by seven points with three rounds of games remaining.

However, Leipzig are very much in the hunt for cup glory as they head into Friday's DFB-Pokal semi-final against Werder Bremen.

The winner of that tie will face either Borussia Dortmund or Holstein Kiel, the second-tier team that knocked out Bayern in the early stages of the tournament.

"Of course, it would be nice to end my time here by winning the DFB-Pokal," Nagelsmann said on Thursday.

"The pressure is there, but that's normal. If you've reached the semi-finals with your team, then it's obvious that you want to advance to the final and win there."

Quoted on Leipzig's official website, Nagelsmann said: "There's nothing worse than losing a final. If we have the chance to win the trophy, then we'll do everything possible to make that happen.

"We don't need any extra motivation for Friday night. The cup is motivation enough. The team will give it everything they have to meet the expectations. They are highly motivated.

"I still have a good relationship with the team and spoke to the lads. All the outside noise won't affect them. All of my players want to continue improving.

"Our goal is to make it to [the final in] Berlin. We also want to break the 67-point mark in the Bundesliga, in order to set a new [club] record this season."

Jesse Marsch will take over as head coach of RB Leipzig when Julian Nagelsmann heads to Bayern Munich at the end of the season.

The switch sees Marsch leave Salzburg, affiliates of Leipzig, to rejoin the club he previously served as an assistant coach.

Leipzig said Marsch had agreed a two-year contract and would assume his new role on July 1.

Marsch has been a head coach before, most notably leading New York Red Bulls from 2015 to 2018, and the American should prove an easy fit with the German Bundesliga side.

Leipzig CEO Oliver Mintzlaff said: "In Jesse Marsch, we have been able to recruit our main head coach and quickly fill the most important position in the sporting side of the club with a top coach.

"Jesse has been part of the Red Bull football group for over six years now and has done incredible work in all his roles so far, constantly developing step by step.

"It's of course a great advantage that he already worked for a year at RB Leipzig. Jesse knows the club, the city of Leipzig and, above all, the club and playing philosophy.

"Alongside his qualities as a coach, Jesse is characterised above all by his positively ambitious style, which he uses to motivate and engage the people and around the club.

"We're looking forward to working with Jesse Marsch and to continuing our successful path with him."

Bayern Munich have made a good habit of getting their house in order promptly, and 2021 would seem to be no different.

Having already agreed a deal to sign centre-back Dayot Upamecano from RB Leipzig, the Bundesliga leaders have followed up with an agreement to make Julian Nagelsmann their next head coach.

The Leipzig boss, a boyhood Bayern fan from Bavaria who is still attempting to stop his new club win the title this season, will take over from Hansi Flick on July 1.

A five-year contract and a reported fee of €20million – the most ever paid for a coach – represent a significant investment on Bayern's part and show just how highly they regard Nagelsmann.

The 33-year-old is not exactly taking the wheel of a sinking ship, either: Bayern won six trophies in under two years under Flick and look set to be crowned German champions again.

However, the Bundesliga's youngest ever coach will still face a few crucial tasks upon his appointment that could go a long way towards making or breaking his first term in charge...

Get on with the board

Flick had few serious problems during a remarkably successful spell at the helm, but one notable issue lately has been his relationship with the club's hierarchy.

His decision to announce in public this month that he would be leaving at the end of the season enraged those in charge given they had agreed to keep the news quiet. Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, one of Flick's biggest allies, even saw fit to issue a statement criticising the coach.

Flick is said to have got on poorly with sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic, with disagreements over transfer targets and a general mistrust turning the relationship volatile. Salihamidzic himself has come under scrutiny, with plenty of fans unhappy to see the coach being the one to depart.

Having landed Bayern's top target through a not-insignificant outlay, Salihamidzic will be almost as desperate to see Nagelsmann succeed as the new man himself. A better working relationship between coach and superiors would be a positive way to start.

Fix the defence

Flick has spent much of this campaign trying to solidify a Bayern defence that has conceded 40 Bundesliga goals this term, already eight more than in the whole of 2019-20.

Frailties at the back were exposed in a DFB-Pokal loss at the hands of second-tier Holstein Kiel and more brutally in the Champions League quarter-final exit to Paris Saint-Germain.

Bayern's defence could look very different next season. Upamecano is arriving from Leipzig but David Alaba is expected to sign for Real Madrid, Jerome Boateng is leaving after a decade in Munich and there is still uncertainty around Niklas Sule's future.

With Bayern said to be pursuing a new right-back, there could well be a new-look backline in front of Manuel Neuer next season – one that Nagelsmann will need to hone quickly in pre-season.

 

Support Lewandowski

As talk of Nagelsmann continued on Monday, Sky Sport reported "several" European clubs had made enquiries over the possibility of signing Robert Lewandowski.

Europe's leading marksman in 2020-21 with 43 goals in all competitions, Lewandowski needs four more in the final three games to equal Gerd Muller's record of 40 in a single Bundesliga season.

Should he match or surpass that milestone, and having finally got his hands on the Champions League last season, the Poland star could be tempted to try his hand elsewhere – and has made clear previously that Bayern may not be his final club.

Signing a replacement would be no easy task, particularly in the coronavirus landscape, so Nagelsmann would be wise to make sure Lewandowski feels Bayern's objectives match his own moving forward.

Ignore the noise

For a coach, learning to deal with critics is part of the territory at Bayern Munich, more so than at any club in Germany.

With famous ex-players in positions of power at the Allianz Arena and others prominent figures in the media – former Germany captain Lothar Matthaus chief among them – Bayern coaches will never be far from an opinion or two, whether successful or not (just ask Pep Guardiola).

Matthaus was even rebuked by former team-mate Stefan Effenberg this month for encouraging talk of Nagelsmann replacing Flick, suggesting such comments simply placed further pressure on coaches "that is no longer okay".

Flick had actually handled the persistent Bayern background noise rather well, and Nagelsmann will need to do likewise: the scrutiny on his performance as the world's most expensive coach – at such a young age – will be intense.

 

Blood the youngsters

Leipzig CEO Oliver Mintzlaff specifically praised Nagelsmann for improving individuals and strengthening the collective in his time at the club.

The progress of players such as Upamecano, Ibrahima Konate, Dominik Szoboszlai and captain Marcel Sabitzer highlights the positive impact Nagelsmann's methods can have on young talent.

He will be under pressure to produce similar results at Bayern. Alphonso Davies is already an elite left-back at 20, Jamal Musiala is established in the senior squad at 18 and there are high hopes for young centre-back Tanguy Nianzou.

Given Bayern's pedigree for developing global stars, Nagelsmann will be under pressure to keep the production line going at full speed.

Julian Nagelsmann says he is leaving RB Leipzig for "a unique opportunity" at Bayern Munich with "a heavy heart" but vows he will give everything to finish on a high.

Leipzig head coach Nagelsmann is to become the new Bayern boss and has agreed a five-year contract beginning on July 1, both clubs confirmed on Tuesday.

Bayern, who are on the verge of a ninth successive Bundesliga title, have agreed to terminate the contract of Hansi Flick, who informed the club he did not want to stay in charge beyond this season.

Nagelsmann has Leipzig on the brink of sealing second place in the Bundesliga, which would be their best finish.

There also remains a chance he will guide the club to their first major silverware with Bayern already out of the DFB-Pokal ahead of Leipzig's semi-final against Werder Bremen on Friday.

The 33-year-old finished third in the top flight and reached the Champions League semi-finals with Leipzig last season – his first after joining from Hoffenheim - but revealed the Bayern job was too difficult to turn down.

"I will leave RB Leipzig with a heavy heart," Nagelsmann told Leipzig's website.

"I’ve been able to coach a special team here at a club with huge opportunities and the best possible conditions to work in.

"Our run to the Champions League semi-finals was definitely the highlight of our time together. It was a moment that I'll never forget.

"We're currently enjoying the best Bundesliga campaign in the club's history too. We want to make sure it ends up our best finish and then also lift a major trophy for the first time as well.

"It's too early to say my goodbyes and speak about my memories because I'm not done here yet in Leipzig.

"My mission may end here in the summer, but I will give my absolute all until then. We've grown into a real tight-knit bunch that finally wants to win a title.

"Leipzig are a special club – nevertheless, I am leaving. I made no secret of the fact that the head coach position at FC Bayern appealed to me and that I would like to take on this job if the opportunity ever arose.

"The position at FC Bayern is a unique opportunity for me. I would therefore like to thank Oliver Mintzlaff and the rest of the board at RB Leipzig for finding a solution with FC Bayern and making this possible for me.

"Now we're shifting our full attention to the remaining three Bundesliga games and of course the DFB-Pokal semi-final, to try and finish the season as successfully as possible."

Talk emerged on Monday that Bayern and Nagelsmann had quickly agreed terms but that a fee to release him from his RB Leipzig contract was proving a sticking point.

According to widespread reports, an agreement has been reached between the clubs that would make Nagelsmann the world's most expensive head coach.

The Athletic indicated Bayern will pay around €20million, while further reports suggest add-ons could take the total closer to €25m.

Nagelsmann, 33, had also been linked with Tottenham after their decision to sack Jose Mourinho last week.

However, as a boyhood Bayern fan from the Bavarian town of Landsberg am Lech, the Allianz Arena has long been touted as his dream destination.

When Nagelsmann does finish at Leipzig, he will do so with a sense of pride.

He added: "Since my first game in August 2019 against VfL Osnabruck, RB Leipzig, the whole region and all the staff and players here have meant so much to me.

"We've experienced so many special things during our eventful time together.

"Everybody here, including the staff who work alongside the team, have ensured that we've written plenty of stories for the club's history books and are continuing to do so now. I'm really proud of that."

Julian Nagelsmann can keep the trophies coming for Bayern Munich, with Oliver Kahn forecasting a "very successful" future under the leadership of the incoming coach.

The 33-year-old Nagelsmann will leave RB Leipzig at the end of the season after agreeing a five-year contract with Bayern.

A world-record fee for a coach was reportedly agreed to secure the man who will take over from Hansi Flick, with Bayern expected to hand over at least €20million.

They may recoup some of that if Flick, who asked to be released from his contract, is appointed head coach of Germany.

By hiring such a young coach, Bayern are making a major statement about their intentions, seeing Nagelsmann as a long-term prospect.

Kahn, who will step up from his role on the board to become Bayern CEO at the end of the year, said: "Julian's contract length of five years alone shows how committed he is to FC Bayern.

"I am convinced that FC Bayern's sporting future will be a very successful one with Julian Nagelsmann."

Goalkeeping great Kahn believes the team are in safe hands with the incoming boss, but he also praised Flick for his contribution.

Since taking over from the sacked Niko Kovac in November 2019, Flick has steered Bayern to six trophies, including a treble of the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League last season.

A seventh trophy of Flick's brief reign should arrive in May, with Bayern on the brink of a ninth successive Bundesliga title.

"My thanks go to Hansi Flick," Kahn said. "He's led FC Bayern to great successes with great football. We have now fulfilled his wish to leave FC Bayern before the end of his contract. All the best, Hansi!"

Reports suggested Flick and Hasan Salihamidzic have been at odds over team matters, including player recruitment.

With Flick no longer needing to concern himself with such matters, they may be able to part on peaceful terms.

"I want to express my thanks to Hansi Flick," said Salihamidzic.

"After taking on the role of head coach nearly one and a half years ago, we have celebrated many victories and titles, with the treble in 2020 being the high point. His name will always be associated with these successes. I wish him all the best for the road ahead."

Clearly, Salihamidzic is looking forward to working with Nagelsmann, having been impressed by the discussions with the coach that have led to this point.

In 90 games with Leipzig, Nagelsmann has earned 53 wins and 21 draws and suffered 16 defeats - achieving a healthy win percentage of 58.9 per cent.

"The talks with Julian have been very cooperative and constructive," Salihamidzic said. "We are going to have a lot of joy with him – of that I am sure."

Julian Nagelsmann told RB Leipzig the Bayern Munich job was his lifelong dream before they agreed to his exit, club CEO Oliver Mintzlaff has revealed.

Mintzlaff revealed the decision to sanction Nagelsmann's departure took place after open and honest talks with the highly rated 33-year-old, who is nearing the end of his second season with Leipzig.

Leipzig head coach Nagelsmann is to become the new Bayern boss and has agreed a five-year contract beginning on July 1, both clubs confirmed on Tuesday.

Nagelsmann said he is leaving RB Leipzig for "a unique opportunity" at Bayern with "a heavy heart" but vowed he would give everything to finish on a high.

Discussing the announcement, Mintzlaff said: "There has been a lot of activity over the past few days regarding the role as head coach of FC Bayern Munich.

"Following this, Julian Nagelsmann approached us and expressed in open talks that it is a lifelong dream of his to become coach of FC Bayern, and that he would like to make the move to Munich if the opportunity presented itself after the end of this season.

"Julian has taken a fantastic path in Leipzig and developed the club very successfully.

"He has not only improved individual players but has also taken the team as a collective to the next level.

"We signed a long-term contract that did not originally include an exit scenario.

"However, Julian's strong desire to coach FC Bayern has led us to the decision that the door is open after intensive talks, provided certain prerequisites are met."

Following reports on Monday that Bayern and Nagelsmann had quickly agreed terms, a fee to release him from his RB Leipzig contract was said to be proving a sticking point.

An agreement has been now reached between the clubs that will reportedly make Nagelsmann the world's most expensive head coach.

The Athletic indicated Bayern will pay around €20million, while further reports suggest add-ons could take the total closer to €25m.

Mintzlaff confirmed the club had met their financial target during talks with Bayern.

He added: "In the negotiations with FC Bayern representatives, we have been successful in obtaining our financial goals.

"Now we have to tackle the remaining games of this season with Julian and his team so that we can make this the most successful campaign in our club's history." 

Bayern, who are on the verge of a ninth successive Bundesliga title, have agreed to terminate the contract of Hansi Flick, who informed the club he did not want to stay in charge beyond this season.

Nagelsmann has Leipzig on the brink of sealing second place in the Bundesliga, which would be their best finish.

There also remains a chance he will guide the club to their first major silverware, with Bayern already out of the DFB-Pokal ahead of Leipzig's semi-final against Werder Bremen on Friday.

The 33-year-old finished third in the top flight and reached the Champions League semi-finals with Leipzig last season – his first after joining from Hoffenheim.

But he revealed his new job was too difficult to turn down. As a boyhood Bayern fan from the Bavarian town of Landsberg am Lech, the Allianz Arena has long been touted as his dream destination.

Leipzig added that a statement regarding the successor to Nagelsmann would be made "soon".

Julian Nagelsmann is to become the new Bayern Munich head coach and has agreed a five-year contract beginning on July 1, the Bundesliga club announced on Tuesday.

Bayern, who are on the verge of a ninth successive Bundesliga title, have agreed to terminate the contract of Hansi Flick, who informed the club he did not want to stay in charge beyond this season.

"Julian Nagelsmann represents a new generation of coaches," Bayern president Herbert Hainer said in a statement.

"Despite his young age, he has had an impressive career. We are convinced that, with Julian Nagelsmann, we will build on the great successes of the past few years."

Talk emerged on Monday that Bayern and Nagelsmann had quickly agreed terms but that a fee to release him from his RB Leipzig contract was proving a sticking point.

According to widespread reports in Germany and Europe, an agreement has been reached between the clubs that would make Nagelsmann the world's most expensive head coach.

The Athletic indicated Bayern will pay around €20million, while further reports suggest add-ons could take the total closer to €25m.

Nagelsmann, 33, had also been linked with Tottenham after their decision to sack Jose Mourinho last week.

However, as a boyhood Bayern fan from the Bavarian town of Landsberg am Lech, the Allianz Arena has long been touted as his dream destination.

Nagelsmann, who cost Leipzig a reported €5m when he joined from Hoffenheim in 2019, has helped to establish the club as Champions League regulars and Bundesliga title challengers.

He guided them to the Champions League semi-finals last season, where they lost 3-0 to Paris Saint-Germain, and a third-place finish in the top flight.

Leipzig are comfortably second in 2020-21 but trail leaders Bayern by seven points with only three games remaining.

Flick, who has been tipped to succeed Joachim Low as head coach of Germany, leaves Bayern after delivering six trophies in under two years, including the treble last season.

Hainer said: "I would like to expressly thank Hansi Flick on behalf of FC Bayern. He took over our team in a difficult phase in 2019 and then won six titles, with the seventh hopefully following soon.

"He will always have a place in the history books of FC Bayern."

Flick said: "The past two years have been unforgettable for me.

"A coach is nothing without his team and I was lucky enough to meet fantastic players and staff here in Munich, and a team of coaches who did incredible things.

"One disappointment remains: that we weren't able to celebrate the greatest successes during this time with the fans. I've missed them in every game.

"I wish the Bayern family the very best for the future. It's not an empty phrase when I say it was a very great honour for me."

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