Nagelsmann before PSG: Our strong structure will prevail
FC Bayern München against Paris Saint-Germain: the mouthwatering clash that has European football quivering with anticipation takes place on Wednesday (21:00 CET) at the Allianz Arena. Interviewed by fcbayern.com, FCB coach Julian Nagelsmann provides insights into his preparations for the match, how the FCB defence can once again stop Kylian Mbappé & Co. and why FC Bayern will progress to the quarter-finals.
Interview with Julian Nagelsmann
Servus, Julian! What does a matchday look like for the team - like before the clash with PSG for example?
Nagelsmann: "The day starts with a squad breakfast, where you can get a feel for how the boys are doing. After that, there's a discussion about set-pieces, followed by the so-called 'activation' - which used to be called 'working up a sweat'. After lunch, I inform the players of the line-up and talk to them individually. After a rest period, we have an afternoon snack and a last short meeting on various subjects, either about the match plan or simply as motivation. After that we go to the stadium and hopefully have a good and successful game."
How do you communicate with your assistants during the match?
"My assistants Xaver Zembrod, who sits next to me in the dugout, and Benjamin Glück, who's up in the stands in an analysis position, are connected via a headset. I'm down on the touchline, deep into situational coaching, in the actual action on the field. Benji has a better view of the whole thing from above and a different perspective on the basic formations of the two teams, as well as how we're using the spaces. To this end, we constantly exchange ideas and compare our impressions. Towards the end of the first half, we briefly discuss which moves we want to show at half-time. It's never really about analysing mistakes, but always about what we can do differently, better, or want to continue doing in the second half. For all that to work well, it's very important that my assistants understand how I interpret football."
After their home defeat, PSG are under pressure in the second leg. How do you expect them to react in Munich?
"They need at least one goal to level it up. I expect them to apply a lot of pressure from the start. In Ligue 1, they often defend deep and play on the counter-attack. Their style of play also depends on who's fit and can play. In the first leg, they were without Kylian Mbappé at the start, which affected their match plan a little bit. When he came on, they started playing a different way. As I said, I expect it to be much more attacking and open than in Paris."
In the first leg, Benjamin Pavard, Dayot Upamecano and Matthijs de Ligt defended superbly and, together with keeper Yann Sommer, kept a clean sheet. How will you stop the PSG attack this time?"
"Both we and PSG have enormous pace in attack. We want to get at them when they take possession and be physically present from the first minute. What we need in the second leg is to prevent them from using their pace. If you give their attackers too much space and they can unleash their footballing qualities, it's incredibly difficult to defend."
FC Bayern will prevail in the tie and reach the quarter-finals because...
"...we're a very well-structured team. We all want to go far in the Champions League. But in the end, with heavyweights like Bayern and PSG, it's always form on the day that decides. Both teams are at a similar level in terms of individuals. Both have top stars in their ranks. But our group has a very good sense of being there for each other, of giving everything."
Read up on the facts ahead of the second leg: