Coach Julian Nagelsmann on his vision for Bayern and his path into coaching
Monday, September 13, 2021
"I want to be successful; I want to win trophies here; I want the fans to be enthusiastic about us," the 34-year-old tells UEFA.com.
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Raised 65km from Munich, in Landsberg am Lech, Julian Nagelsmann grew up a Bayern fan and was thrilled to take the helm there this summer, just short of his 34th birthday, after impressive spells in charge of Hoffenheim and Leipzig.
Nagelsmann began coaching early after injuries marred his time as a trainee with 1860 München and then Augsburg, ruining his chances of being a professional player. Steered back into the game by then-Augsburg boss Thomas Tuchel, Nagelsmann has brought sparkle to all of his senior coaching roles, and now hopes to build a lasting legacy at Bayern. He spoke to UEFA.com on the eve of the new UEFA Champions League campaign.
On growing up a Bayern fan
My brother had been a Bayern fan for ages and was a bit older than me, 11 years, so he was quite into it and got me into it as well at an early age. I got to see many games at the Olympiastadion. My favourite memory was actually on the motorway, where I saw Alain Sutter in the car next to us, when I was about six or seven. We drove next to him for a bit, and I waved at him like crazy and he waved back, so that was a very special moment.
What would my ten-year-old self have said to my 34-year-old self now that I am coach? "Hurry up and win a few trophies!" Then my 34-year-old self would say: "It’s not all about winning trophies." But the ten-year-old would say: "Get a move on!"
On being forced to quit football due to injury
I was developing well [at Augsburg] but I suffered quite a lot of injuries. In the beginning, the disappointment [of being forced to quit playing] was just too much. You focus on your sport and then comes the void, the disappointment, when it doesn’t work out. So I made the deliberate decision to not do anything else on the football field.
How big a role did Thomas Tuchel play in bringing me back into football? A big one really because when I was playing at Augsburg and got injured, he said: "We can tear up your contract – it's quite simple – or you work for a while as a scout and watch our next few opponents." I said "OK" so that I could get my money until the end of the year. He said I had a good analytical eye, a gift for spotting things. I think without his encouragement, I would never have tried [coaching].
On the honour of being Bayern boss
I'm delighted to have the job. You can tell by looking at me or when I'm standing on the touchline, how much life and energy I put into the job, how much I enjoy it. I've got the job but that can't be the end of it. I want to be successful; I want to win trophies here; I want the fans to be enthusiastic about us. When my time's over here – and I hope it's a long one – I hope to have achieved what I wanted to achieve and what others expected of me. Only then can I be proud.
The challenge is to become a team with a bit more variety. To do this, we're going to need a very solid defence, so that our attacks start off well, and so that we're structured both when we have the ball and if we lose possession – meaning, in the latter case, any dangerous spaces will be covered and we'll be able to reduce the number of goals we concede. Last year we let in too many. Too many games were too intense and suddenly when it came to the crunch period, many [players] were injured because maybe we'd had to play catch-up in matches too often. If you've had to invest a lot, you won't peak at the right time in March and April, so that's why we need to keep the goals-against column low so that some games are easier, and we conserve energy for the really big matches.
On his Champions League expectations
It's only just over a year since [Bayern] won it; the players got a taste for it and want to do it again. The Champions League [knockout phase] is always about having one or two good days; if you have a bad day, it's all over very quickly. We want to survive the group stage, we have three very interesting opponents in [Dynamo] Kyiv, Barcelona and Benfica, and our goal is to assert ourselves and play attractive football.