Sky expert and ex-Bayern and Liverpool man Didi Hamann did not hold back when he criticized Philippe Coutinho after Bayern’s third straight win in the Champions League group stage (Sky). Calling the Brazilian “an alien body on the team,” Hamann said he misses “wow” moments in the midfield magician’s game.
Although still not at the level he was at Liverpool, Coutinho has shown glimpses of brilliance and put in a few good performances. While this could just be a matter of getting acclimated with the style of play and the squad, Hamann underlined the fact that Coutinho is only at Bayern for a year-long loan and should “get started sometime,” given that he has only 30-35 games left to play.
Hamann added that if the Brazilian does not improve his game in the coming weeks, “We may not have a Müller discussion anymore in two or three weeks but rather a Coutinho discussion.”
As for the Müller discussion, Hamann also chimed in in his column for Sky, “Hamann’s Top 3.” Stating the loss of Müller in the winter to be fatal for Bayern, he pointed out the importance and value of Müller over Coutinho as a leader and as the last great identification figure of this team:
His word carries so much weight in the locker room that you can’t go without it. I think that he and Manuel Neuer are the ones whose word and leadership this team follows.
Coutinho was again caught in the cross hairs of Hamann in his column for Sky, who called his performance against Olympiacos bad outright. Hamann would rather start Müller over the Brazilian in the upcoming game against Union Berlin:
There’s a difference between not playing well and playing badly. Coutinho is playing badly at the moment. He is on a one-year loan, has now played several games for Bayern, and I cannot observe any improvement in his performance at all. I therefore would obviously let Müller play against Union Berlin, in particular in the middle behind Lewandowski. Coman and Gnabry on the wings.
You can see our own predictions for Bayern’s lineup tomorrow here: