Nagelsmann defends Salihamidzic after Bayern sporting chief makes bold training match claim

By Sports Desk September 02, 2022

Julian Nagelsmann insisted Bayern Munich sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic did not mean to offend when he said the club's training matches could be better spectacles than Bundesliga games.

The comments from Salihamidzic came in a wide-ranging interview with German broadcaster Sky Sport, as he answered a question about Tottenham's Harry Kane by pointing out the wealth of attacking talent already in Bayern's ranks.

Salihamidzic said in the interview, released on Thursday: "If you look at the training sessions, it's great fun to watch. Some training games are better than Bundesliga games."

It was the sort of throwaway comment that could be interpreted as a provocative remark towards Bayern's Bundesliga rivals.

Bayern have won 10 consecutive German league titles, an unprecedented run of success, sweeping all before them over the last decade and looking strong again this season.

They have 10 points from four games so far, and only Saturday's opponents Union Berlin have matched that haul.

Asked about Salihamidzic's comments, Nagelsmann said on Friday: "We don't want to offend any Bundesliga club. I think 'Brazzo' [Salihamidzic] didn't want to talk about the quality of the Bundesliga as much as he wanted to emphasise that we have a good team spirit on the pitch.

"They cheer each other on during training and it's always a good vibe. But in training you can play from the soul because there is a different pressure. Only the results count in the Bundesliga. Brazzo just said that we train well."

Bayern dropped points for the first time this season in their 1-1 draw with Borussia Monchengladbach last weekend. They had 20 shots on target against the Foals, though, setting a new record for a single Bundesliga game since detailed data collection began in 2004-05.

Bayern begin their Champions League campaign next week, facing Serie A giants Inter on Wednesday at San Siro.

Nagelsmann suspects Saturday's domestic assignment will be an ideal test ahead of that game. Ominously for Union, Bayern have scored 13 goals in their first two Bundesliga away games this term – a new league record.

"Inter and Union are similar in some respects, especially with their two strikers," said Nagelsmann. "It won't be a bad scouting game for Inter."

Bayern will be without the injured Mathys Tel and Bouna Sarr, but Leon Goretzka came through his first-team return when he came off the bench and scored in the 5-0 DFB-Pokal win over Viktoria Koln on Wednesday.

After a knee injury lay-off, Nagelsmann will hope to have Goretzka fit enough for regular starts before long.

"I hope that he stays healthy and that we manage his stress in a healthy way," Nagelsmann said.

Bayern are unbeaten in their six Bundesliga games against Union Berlin (W4 D2).

They have only faced Rot-Weiss Oberhausen and SV Darmstadt more often in the top flight without ever losing (both eight times).

Indeed, Bayern are the only current Bundesliga side Union have never managed to beat.

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