There’s no disguising the fact that Philippe Coutinho’s move to Barcelona didn’t work out exactly as he wished. After making the move to the Catalans from Liverpool in the winter of 2018, Coutinho fell out of favor in Barcelona’s star-studded squad and did not receive the consistent minutes he had hoped for.
Moving to Bayern Munich this summer on a one-year loan was perhaps the best possible option at this stage of his career, but before he made his final decision, Coutniho sought out former Liverpool teammate and fellow Brazilian Roberto Firmino for advice about the Bundesliga (via The Mirror). Firmino spent four and a half seasons in the Bundesliga playing for TSG Hoffenheim, where he tallied a total of 49 goals and 36 assists from 153 appearances across all competitions. Specifically, Coutinho said he asked his compatriot about the intensity of the Bundesliga:
I talked with Roberto Firmino about the intensity of the Bundesliga and the tight matches there. He told me a lot about the different Bundesliga teams.
Additionally, Coutinho added that some of his Brazil teammates asked him how he’s liking life at Bayern during the international break:
Some of my Brazil team-mates asked me how things are going at Bayern. I told them how happy I am to be there. I had a great welcome from my team-mates, club, fans, media and want to repay it with goals and performances on the pitch.
On “competition” with Thomas Muller
Coutinho’s arrival at Bayern sparked suggestions that he’ll be competing directly with Thomas Muller, since both of them play as either a central or wide attacking midfielder. Both players also possess the versatility to play as a central midfielder in the middle three of a 4-3-3 formation, although Coutinho is a bit more creative on the ball and quicker.
In a recent interview with SportBild (transcribed via AZ), Coutinho said that he realizes it’s ultimately up to Niko Kovac who plays, but that he has great respect for Muller. Asked whether he could imagine playing alongside Müller, he answered,
Sure, that would work. But it’s up to the coach to decide that. [Müller] is an absolute idol in Munich and in Germany. And a player everyone in the world knows. It’s an immense joy to be on a team with him. He made my start very pleasant for me.