Hansi Flick is getting set for his third official match in charge for Bayern Munich as the team travels northwest to take on Fortuna Düsseldorf. In his press conference previewing the Düsseldorf clash, Flick highlighted some of the players that have impressed him since he’s taken charge (Sport1).
In both the Olympiacos and Dortmund matches, Flick made the decision to start David Alaba and Javi Martinez as the center-backs with Alphonso Davies at left back and Benjamin Pavard at right-back. In der Klassiker in particular, Flick felt that Alaba was a true leader from the back:
Alaba played a sensational game against BVB in the central defense — not only defensively but also offensively in particular. He led the team out from the back, built up the game. That’s why he is very important to us at this position.
As for others like Jerome Boateng, who has not started since Flick took charge, Flick said that everyone who did not leave on international duty during the break has been working incredibly hard in training at Säbener Strasse:
Everyone who was here put in outstanding work. Everyone here has to prove himself and develop all over again every day. Everyone can learn more here at this level.
Flick also addressed two players who almost always started under Niko Kovac yet have not played much since. Both Thiago Alcantara and Philippe Coutinho started on the bench in Flick’s opening two matches, but he insisted the pair are both great players who were just sacrificed for tactical chances in those two matches:
Both are players with extremely high potential. It was a situation that was not entirely simple. We changed our style of play somewhat, defended forward. I turned to players who are perhaps a bit better against the ball. But we know they do us good with their qualities in possession. It’s important that they seamlessly link up when they come on.
Flick said he views players’ dissatisfaction over playing time as a positive. Tactical plans can vary from match to match, and players need to be able to do what’s expected of them in any given situation. But he wants to be a transparent and honest as possible with his game plan and the reasoning behind his personnel selections:
In essence, it’s good when players are dissatisfied that they are not playing. It changes from game to game, the difference is not very great. It’s important to openly tell the players what you expect of them and why someone else who plays their position that day perhaps does that somewhat better. That’s how I’d like to manage it. I’m always open and honest and do not want to mislead anyone. That’s my way; others have theirs.
Flick had little to say about his own position. Asked for a comment on Karl-Heinz Rummenigge’s declaration of confidence in him at the annual general assembly, Flick said,
It makes no difference for my work. What matters is that the club has time to consider what is right for the future.
Flick also firmly declined to give any comment on Mauricio Pochettino, who has been linked to Bayern from the moment he was dismissed by Tottenham:
It is not my job to analyze a coaching colleague. That’s not proper. I do not want to make a statement about that. I’m not interested in that.