The Nagelsmann Effect is bad news for the Bundesliga

Lewis Ambrose
3 min readApr 27, 2021

Bayern Munich, Bundesliga champions 2013–2020. Champions elect 2021. And, with the announcement that Julian Nagelsmann has signed a five year-contract, probably Bundesliga champions 2022, 2023, 2024, 2025 and 2026.

When Nagelsmann took over Hoffenheim at the age of 28, they sat 17th in the league with just 14 points from 20 games. They picked up 23 points from the remaining 14 matches, only three teams managed more, and escaped what looked like certain relegation.

From there (and with very little transfer business) he took them into Europe for the first time in their history and led them to the two best league finishes (4th in 2016/17, 3rd in 2017/18) in their history. And he has repeated the trick at Leipzig, leading the club into back-to-back title races (as well as a Champions League semi-final) and improving on their return in their first three Bundesliga campaigns.

It’s pretty clear that teams get better when Nagelsmann is in charge of them. Only Bayern, Dortmund, and Leipzig outperformed his Hoffenheim during his time in Sinsheim. Only Bayern have outperformed his Leipzig.

Across a whole season, Hoffenheim averaged over 10 points more with Nagelsmann than since his departure. He has improved Leipzig’s fortunes in the league to the tune of over six points per season, closing the gap to Bayern at the top of the table. A gap he will now look to increase.

And the Nagelsmann Effect doesn’t just impact clubs but individual players, too. He is still just 33 but the number of players who have hit the best form of their career under the German is incredible.

There are played who have developed under him, earned big moves, and then struggled somewhere else:

Joelinton (€44m, Newcastle), Nico Schulz (€25m, Dortmund), Niklas Süler (€20m, Bayern), Sandro Wagner (€13m, Bayern), Jeremy Toljan (€7m, Dortmund), Sebastian Rudy (free, Bayern), Mark Uth (free, Schalke) Kevin Vogt (Hoffenheim, Werder Bremen).

And there are players who have developed hugely under him and managed to continue in the same vein:

Serge Gnabry (now Bayern) Kerem Demirbay and Nadiem Amiri (both Leverkusen), Andrej Kramarić (Hoffenheim).

All of those players already mentioned featured heavily under Nagelsmann at Hoffenheim. And his teams rarely saw a drop off when the next regular left. The trend of bringing the best out of players like nobody else has continued in his short stint with Leipzig, where Timo Werner scored 34 goals in 45 appearances last season before struggling through his debut campaign with Chelsea and Angeliño has shown some sensational form after failing to convince Pep Guardiola that he is even good enough to keep around as a squad player at Manchester City. Marcel Sabitzer managed a respectable 27 goals and assists in his first 84 Bundesliga appearances before 2019/20, but has since exploded, managing 25 goals and assists in his 46 league outings under Nagelsmann’s guidance.

The coach’s decision to join Bayern sees the league’s most talented coach, with more ability than anyone else in the Bundesliga to make a team more than the sum of its’ parts, take over by far the most talented squad in the league, at the richest club in the country. And he leaves their biggest challengers from the current season in order to do so.

Bayern will win a ninth Bundesliga title in a row before Nagelsmann arrives and it will be an enormous surprise if he then fails to make it 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 before his contract expires.

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