Player of the month August – Jamal Musiala

Georg Separator September 8, 2021

The answer is Jamal Musiala.

In August, the 18-year-old did not just continue where he left off last season, he did better than that. Over the summer, he added dribbles, through balls, goals, and assists to his ever increasing arsenal of impressive skills.

Jamal Musiala has been the shooting star of the new season at Bayern thus far and is therefore our Player of the Month for August. 

Musiala brings the turnaround

FC Bayern’s pre-season preparations remained below our and probably also the club’s own expectations. Nevertheless, the wobbly performance could not really have come as a surprise to a lot of people. The time between the European Championship and the start of the season was too short to get used to a new coach with new ideas. Nagelsmann had to rotate too much and nominate too many B squads for his players to really develop a semblance of structure and stability.

When, after the draw in the opening game against Borussia Mönchengladbach, the first half against 1. FC Köln ended goalless and with only a few chances created, when a false start to the Nagelsmann era was in clear sight, it was Jamal Musiala whose substitution brought about the turnaround: the turnaround in the game against a courageous Cologne side and the turnaround to a successful start to the season. Musiala caused more damage to the Cologne defence with his first two actions than his teammates had managed in the first 45 minutes, and Lewandowski’s goal after Musiala’s dribble and assist broke the spell. 

Nagelsmann rewarded the furious cameo performance against Köln with starting appearances against Hertha BSC and Bremer SV in the DFB-Pokal. Musiala also made the most of his opportunities in these games and impressed once again.

Musiala’s month in numbers

Jamal Musiala played in all five of FC Bayern’s competitive matches. In 198 minutes of action, he recorded three goals and two assists on his scorecard, which equals one scorer point every 40 minutes – an impressive return. 

But Musiala’s performances were not only impressive in terms of goals and assists, his creative input was almost even more outstanding: In the 122 minutes of Bundesliga play for which this detailed data is available, Musiala set up five shots for his teammates and was able to get past an opponent in a one-on-one duel eleven times. That corresponds to 3.7 “key passes” (in analytics parlance), and 8.1 successful dribbles per 90 minutes.

A comparison with the best in the categories in Europe’s top leagues shows how absurdly good Musiala’s figures are. 

The best dribblers of the big 5 leagues in the 2020/21 season

Successful dribbles per 90 minutes, only players with at least 1000 minutes of action. Source: Whoscored

  • Premier League: Allan Saint-Maximin 5.5
  • La Liga: Lionel Messi 4.7
  • Bundesliga: Amine Harit 3.8 
  • Serie A: Jérémie Boga 4.4 
  • Ligue 1: Neymar 5.5
  • Jamal Musiala in August 2021: 8.1

Goal-scoring leaders in the top 5 leagues in the 2020/21 season

Passes leading to shots per 90 minutes, only players with at least 1000 minutes of action. Source: Whoscored

  • Premier League: Kevin de Bruyne 3.6
  • La Liga: Toni Kroos 2.8
  • Bundesliga: Christopher Nkunku 3.9
  • Serie A: Ruslan Malinovskyi 3.7
  • Ligue 1: Neymar 3.7   
  • Jamal Musiala in August 2021: 3.7

Musiala extends squad options

After making his professional debut on matchday 33 of the 2019/20 season, Musiala made his breakthrough last term. He earned substantial playing time with Bayern and performed so effectively that he was even nominated for the European Championship by national team coach Joachim Löw. 

In total, he played 1302 minutes for FC Bayern’s first team that season. On the one hand, that is an enormous amount for a 17-year-old who, at the beginning of the season, was still playing for Türkgücü München and KFC Uerdingen in the 3rd division. 

On the other hand, it only meant 17th place in the Bayern first team squad. If he can keep up his form of August and does not sustain an injury, that much seems clear, his game time will be another statistic in which he will make a great leap forward this year. He has played his way into the first 13 or 14 players for the time being and thus has considerably expanded the options for coach Julian Nagelsmann. 

Together with new signing Marcel Sabitzer, who is also a flexible player, Musiala will provide fierce competition for the five places in the starting eleven between the back four and Robert Lewandowski. Assuming that Joshua Kimmich and Thomas Müller are set, at least three players from the group of Serge Gnabry, Kingsley Coman, Leroy Sané, Leon Goretzka, Marcel Sabitzer and Jamal Musiala will have to sit on the bench.  

The supposedly too-small squad has suddenly become one rich with alternatives, at least in midfield. Not to forget Corentin Tolisso and Marc Roca, who should not yet be completely written off. 

Musiala’s advantage in that competition: he brings elements to the game that not many other footballers do. Many are apt at dribbling down the field at a high speed. But Musiala also dribbles in and out of tight spaces. Whether it is a dribble or an precise short pass, Musiala finds solutions that others do not see. He really shines when he is put under pressure. The tighter the spaces, the clearer Musiala sees the gaps. All in all, Musiala’s impressive rise and recent performances have left us with no choice but nominate him out player of the month August.

»Eier, wir brauchen Eier!«

— Oliver Kahn

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  1. I’m very happy with Musiala’s development since debuting for Bayern. His style of play looks so much like a street footballer, who is so intuitive, free, yet still very purposeful and precise. His current raise makes Bayern from having only 1 reliable wing backup, and that is assuming Sane, Coman and Gnarbry’s consistency and health a lot already, 0.5 to no backup at all for Muller (Gnarbry, Choupo) to having alternative for both now, and that’s not even a backup, but rather complement solution, since Musiala’s skillset is so unique among Bayern players.

    However he has played quite a lot recently, and people tend to hype up so much on a young players without realising how young he actually is. I hope his minutes will be managed reasonable during the next batches of matches to keep up his steady development, not running him to the ground too early. With Sane and Gnarbry’s recent coming back to form, I’m quite confident with that.

    And to think 2 years ago, when news first broke that Bayern contacted Chelsea, Musiala was still a youth player there, how much I wanted the Hudson-Odoi deal to happen back then…

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