Julian Nagelsmann was happy for the small Bayern anniversary about the proudly presented star access João Cancelo. Sports director Hasan Salihamidzic smiled at the side of the last-minute transfer from Manchester City, who will wear number 22 for Munich until the end of the season. Already in the round of 16 of the cup at FSV Mainz 05 on Wednesday (8.45 p.m. / ARD and Sky), Nagelsmann’s 75th competitive game at FC Bayern, the Portuguese national defender could be on the pitch to fight the earnings crisis.
“In general, the double is always the minimum goal of a season,” said Nagelsmann and took a close look at the “very sensible reinforcement” Cancelo in the final training session. “The last two cup seasons were not what Bayern Munich wanted.” Bayern failed twice in the second round, now a round of 16 knockout after the last three 1-1 draws in the Bundesliga would cause some turbulence in Munich. That wouldn’t exactly make things easier for the Portuguese World Cup defender, who is starting his “adventure” at a “big club”.
“It’s a very important game on Wednesday, in which we can turn things around, also in terms of the psyche. Just to get into this race,” said the self-proclaimed “optimist” Nagelsmann. “It’s always important to go into every game with 100% greed and to see the big games from afar, but to use those before to get into the flow.”
Two weeks before the sizzling Champions League test against Paris Saint-Germain, when you can really use the top-class steeled Cancelo against Lionel Messi & Co., the unpleasant Mainz team have to be overcome first. If anyone knows how to beat the series champions from Munich at home, then the 05ers, who left the pitch celebrating winners in April 2021 (2-1) and April 2022 (3-1), are definitely one of them. “It has always been a hot dance in Mainz,” warned Thomas Müller.
Nagelsmann hopes for “more punch” and “more focus” towards the goal. The third winter transfer from the full-back position after goalkeeper Yann Sommer (Borussia Mönchengladbach) and Daley Blind (without a club) should provide important impetus. Sports director Salihamidzic raved about the 28-year-old’s “creativity, playfulness and experience”, but also about “dynamism and forward drive”.
Bayern had already strengthened themselves significantly in the summer
“The World Cup hit us hard,” said Salihamidzic. The 46-year-old listed the absences of Lucas Hernández (torn cruciate ligament), Noussair Mazraoui (pericarditis) and Manuel Neuer, who was injured on a ski tour after the tournament (broken leg). “We have now closed these three positions and hope that we will then have the squad to achieve our goals,” said Salihamidzic. After glamorous summer transfers like those of Matthijs de Ligt and Sadio Mané, the sporting director also brought well-known players to Munich in the winter. According to “transfermarkt.de”, the squad value of Bayern exceeds the billion mark for the first time in the club’s history.
The new star, whose market value is estimated at around 70 million euros, did not commit himself to the question of a longer future in Munich. “First of all, we have to see what these five months will bring. I want to be here with a clear head,” said Cancelo, who was first seeded by Pep Guardiola and later no longer considered as before. His contract with City runs until 2027.
“João Cancelo is an absolute world-class player. He’s one of the best full-backs in the world,” Mainz coach Bo Svensson marveled at the new signing, who can defend on both the left and right. But there is also a lot of quality coming to the 05ers, especially since Leon Goretzka is fit again after his recent problems. Nagelsmann also expects the injured Joshua Kimmich, Dayot Upamecano and Sommer to be ready for action. (dpa)
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