Bayern coach Nagelsmann ringing alarm bells

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Bayern coach Nagelsmann ringing alarm bells

Robert Lewandowski disappeared without speaking a word. The Pole shook his head and continued his way to the Bayern Munich team bus.

The 33-year-old's serious expression drew a perfect picture of the tense situation after Julian Nagelsmann's side delivered a poor performance in their 3-1 loss to Mainz one week after having secured the 2022 Bundesliga title.

Nagelsmann's apparently annoyed mood increased the impression of a club suffering from ongoing turbulence about its future direction.

"It might be human after the title. But when things start to look like games become a burden, it shows us that we have to change something. I guess we have reached that point now," the 34-year-old said.

The Bayern coach expressed a warning to his club not to miss the moment of change, "as this is something every big company is experiencing. I don't want us to say: "Damn, we missed the moment. I want us to turn things in the right direction."

In the middle of tensions caused by unsolved contract extensions of Lewandowski, Thomas Muller, Manuel Neuer and Serge Gnabry, the Bayern coach spoke about additional trigger points such as structural innovations.

Nagelsmann's message seems clear. After a disappointing season coming along with early exits in the Champions League and the German Cup, Bayern is in danger of spoiling its international and national reputation.

In Mainz, Bayern seemed to have hit rock bottom. Only four shots on target, eight kilometers less distance travelled than Mainz, and winning only 44 percent of man-to-man duels represent Bayern's worst figures this season.

German media called Lewandowski the most pressing problem aside from Nagelsmann's indications that the club needs to sign new players to break up encrusted structures.

The uncertainty around the spearhead's future seems to affect the entire team, as club leaders seem to lack a convincing plan.

Reports speak of tensions between the coach and star striker which may lead to the Pole's departure after this season.

An offer from Barcelona for Lewandowski and the forward's unfulfilled demand for a two-year contract until 2025 is fuelling tensions.

With two league games remaining, sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic and chairman Oliver Kahn are under pressure to speed things up.

Meanwhile, Nagelsmann is under fire from the clubs' supporters complaining about young talents being ignored by the coach. Instead of providing playing minutes for youngsters such as Jamal Musiala, Tanguy Nianzou, Gabriel Vidovic and Paul Wanner, 28-year-old Marcel Sabitzer and 33-year-old Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting turned up in the starting 11 against Mainz.

Former Bayern coach Felix Magath accused Bayern of gambling away the season finish and influencing the relegation battle, as the Bavarians' next opponent, VfB Stuttgart, is a direct competitor of his current team Hertha BSC.

"I don't know if a title-winning side can say the season is finished for us with two games to go. This doesn't help the league's reputation and competitiveness," Magath said.

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