September 30, 2022

Josip Stanišić enjoyed a meteoric rise at Bayern Munich. It was in April 2021 when he got his first Bundesliga start under Hansi Flick. Fast forward to now, and he’s a full-time senior squad member alongside Julian Nagelsmann, 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 he stands at Bayern

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

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

His flexibility could be useful to him this year following the departure of Niklas Süle. Although he is not expected to start, he could be called upon to regularly cover two positions: full-back/right-back and right centre-back in Julian Nagelsmann’s three-back formation .

On the incoming

Of course, the first major signing of the transfer window came at Stanišić’s preferred right-back position. “A good player” – speaking of the arrival of AFC Ajax Noussair Mazraoui. “A bit more attacking than me.”

Still, it’s the full confidence of the young starter. “Nothing has changed,” Stanišić added. “There is always competition at FC Bayern, I’m not worried […] I am sure that with the calendar, I will have my game time.

A very Mia San Mia attitude, if you will, and it’s hugely positive to see a young player setting the tone.

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

Spoken like a veteran!

Aiming for Men’s World Cup glory

It wasn’t quite the banner year he was hoping for after fully breaking into the first team. A promising start gave way to derailment by injuries and COVID-19. There were rumors that he was unhappy and heading for a loan.

Such talk is quickly slipping below the horizon now. Stanišić had a fine late recovery for Bayern, including his first senior goal on the final day. Then he started – and played – for Croatia against France on June 13, bagging no less than Kylian Mbappé en route to a 1-0 upset and an announcement to the world. Hey, who is this kid? What is he going to do ?

“The last games have definitely been an encouragement and a happy ending,” he said. “International matches have shown me that I belong.”

After a difficult season, it’s the kind of success that can stand on its own. Such performances could be a springboard for an expanded role at Bayern, and another leap forward at club level could be needed to help him secure his ticket to Qatar. From there, who knows? World Cups used to be a special showcase for young talent.

As for Mbappé, who gave him an ironic smile and warm congratulations after the match?

“I’m against fast players like Kingsley Coman in training. I knew what I had to do.