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Josip Stanišić takes aim at the stars: On transfers, World Cup aspirations and Bayern Munich’s adjustment

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Josip Stanišić has enjoyed a rapid rise at Bayern Munich. It was in April 2021 when he got his first start in the Bundesliga with Hansi Flick. Fast-forward to now, and he’s a full-time man in the senior team at Julian Nagelsmann’s side, on a professional contract until 2025. For the 22-year-old defender, this is just the beginning. In an interview with kicker this week transcribed by @iMiaSanMia, Stanišić reflected on how far he has come and how far he will go.

Where does he fit in at Bayern?

Stanišić can play in the baseline or even in defensive midfield. That versatility can be a blessing or a curse for a player still hoping to find his place on the team.

He will take the positive view. “It’s an advantage,” he explained. “As a young player, it helps me to be able to play in various positions. I want to get as much playing time as possible, the position is secondary.”

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His flexibility may serve him well next year following the departure of Niklas Süle. Although he is not expected to start, he may be required to cover two positions regularly: the right-back/full-back role and the central right-back in Julian Nagelsmann’s three-man formation.

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Of course, the first big signing of the transfer window was in Stanišić’s favorite right-back position. “A good player”, speaking of the arrival of AFC Ajax, Noussair Mazraoui. “A little more offensive-minded than me.”

Still, it’s total confidence from the young starter. “Nothing has changed,” added Stanišić. “There is always competition at FC Bayern, I don’t worry about it. […] I am sure that with the schedule I will get my playing time”.

a very Mia San Mia attitude, so to speak, and it is very positive to see a young player setting the standard.

Stanišić also welcomes “a very good transfer” Sadio Mané, the Liverpool winger and potentially Bayern’s new main striker. “It is difficult to defend him as an opponent, so I am happy that he is my teammate. […] I heard that he always wants to win and hates to lose. That suits us at FC Bayern.”

Spoken like a veteran!

Aiming for Men’s World Cup glory

It wasn’t exactly the banner year he’d hoped for after fully breaking into the first team. A promising start gave way to derailment due to injuries and COVID-19. There were rumors that he was not happy and was headed for a loan.

Such talk is quickly disappearing below the horizon now. Stanišić recovered very late for Bayern, including his first senior goal on the final day. He then started, and starred, for Croatia against France on June 13, pocketing none other than Kylian Mbappe en route to a 1-0 upset and an announcement to the world. Hey, who is this guy? What is he going to do?

“The last few games were definitely a boost and a happy ending,” he reflected. “The international matches showed me that I belong.”

After a difficult season, this is the kind of success you can build on yourself. Performances like that could be a springboard for a broader role at Bayern, and another leap forward at club level might be needed to help him secure his ticket to Qatar. From there, who knows? World Cups have a way of being a special showcase for young talent.

As for Mbappe, who gave him a wry smile and warm congratulations after the game?

“I face fast players like Kingsley Coman in training. I knew what I had to do”.

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