As Bayern Munich cruised to a 3-0 victory over Bavarian rivals FC Augsburg, Arturo Vidal was at the center of everything positive for Bayern. The Chilean has been experiencing sputtering form this season, but a goal and an assist in Bayern’s win over Augsburg prompted praise from Jupp Heynckes, who revealed he had to sit down and have a frank conversation with his midfielder.
Speaking in the post-match press conference (via ESPN), Heynckes shed some light on what exactly he told Vidal to get him back on track:
I had a long talk with him two, two-and-a-half weeks ago and told him that I wasn't pleased with his physical condition in general. I told him that if he wants to play he would have to change something. He didn't see it exactly that way but from that point on, he has trained and behaved differently in training. This week he has trained exceptionally well
Whatever Heynckes specifically said to Vidal appears to have worked its magic, much like everything Heynckes has done since taking over as manager for his fourth stint. Heynckes duly recognized the noticeable improvement that Vidal showed with his performance against Augsburg:
I know what type of performances he is capable of from our time together at Leverkusen -- the way he played today that's how he played during my first year there, often scoring goals and full of strong running. I expect that from him.
Vidal showed exceptional reflexes in firing home a shot from a tight angle:
The match against Augsburg was just the sixth occasion in which Vidal has played for more than 60 minutes from a total of 14 appearances across all competitions this season - not including the DFL Supercup win against Borussia Dortmund, for which he completed 90 minutes.
In addition to some niggling injury problems, Vidal has also been competing for minutes with Thiago Alcantara, Corentin Tolisso, Sebastian Rudy, and Javi Martinez, whom Heynckes has deputized as Bayern’s main central defensive midfielder. Though Martinez has proven himself the undisputed starter in that role, Heynckes showed today that he has the depth and stability in the squad to rotate when necessary, and Vidal made the most of the opportunity.
With his current Bayern Munich contract set to expire in 2019, a good run of form is exactly what Vidal needs, and Heynckes seems to have gotten him back on track. Hopefully Bayern's front office will move soon to reach a new contract agreement with Vidal. Otherwise, he could exercise his right to leave on a free transfer come 2019.