Bayern Munich has been an unstoppable force under Hansi Flick and he’s proven why he deserves all the trust in the world. He’s shown time and time again that his decision making is always done with significant purpose with great success.
Even still, there have been some personnel questions asked of Flick this season and most recently, it was just a little bit perplexing not to see Niklas Süle in the squad to face Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga over the weekend. The center-back had been self-isolating ahead of the international break due to a positive coronavirus test, but featured twice for Die Mannschaft without any injury or fitness issues despite speculation that he had picked up a knee problem.
Per a new report from Bild+ (via Az), Flick was not pleased with Süle’s weight and fitness level in the days building up to the Bremen match. After the match, Flick had said, “He is behind in his training, must be 100 percent fit, then he will be a topic for us again.”
This is the second time in his Bayern career that Süle’s weight has been a topic of concern. During recovery from his cruciate ligament tear this past year, the center back had revealed the diet help he got from Bayern chef Alfons Schuhbek and is now seeking it once again: “Alfons is a good friend of mine and is helping me out a little. I am not always the best showpiece when it comes to nutrition.”
Süle had lost seven kilos during his recovery process, thanks largely to the diet that Schuhbek had helped him with.
As BFW’s own Chuck Smith had put it over the weekend, this could also be seen as a move from Flick to help really take Süle to the next level at Bayern and become a leader in the squad:
Is Süle really losing his form and getting out-of-shape or is Flick simply trying to light a fire under the Germany international? It’s unclear right now, but with the respective futures of David Alaba and Jerome Boateng uncertain — and Bayern Munich allegedly ready to start early negotiations on a renewal with Süle — Flick, the front office, and Süle should all get aligned on what the manager’s expectations are for Süle’s weight and fitness levels.
Flick also provided some clarity as to why midfielder Marc Roca hasn’t played much for Bayern other than his start in the 3-0 DFB-Pokal win over FC Düren. Logically, Joshua Kimmich and Corentin Tolisso being absent from the lineup would’ve paved the way for an appearance for Roca against Bremen, especially just a few days after Flick had praised the midfielder and worked one-on-one with him at Sabener Strasse after the team’s main session.
However, Flick explained his reasoning for selecting Javi Martinez ahead of Roca: “If I say something positive about a player, it doesn’t mean that he has a guaranteed starting position. Javi has played there several times, has been with the club for a long time and knows what is expected in this position, how he has to act.”
Eventually, though, Martinez moved back to center-back, pushing David Alaba out to left back when Lucas Hernandez was replaced by Leon Goretzka after sustaining a pelvic bruise early in the first half. Even with that change, Flick said there wasn’t room for Roca to come on: “There was no room for Marc today,” he explained.
Even Joshua Zirkzee has hardly featured for Bayern this season. He’s only clocked a total of 98 minutes with the first team and seems to have regressed after making a big impact towards the end of the Hinrunde and beginning of the Rückrunde last season. Of course, this hasn’t been helped with Bayern’s acquisition of Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting from Paris Saint-Germain to serve as a backup to Robert Lewandowski. Flick also mentioned that for Zirkzee it’s also “a bit about the mentality, the attitude, the unconditional will,” so maybe he doesn’t see the same effort from the striker as he did last season.
Additionally, Zirkzee himself said he could envision a loan move away from Bayern in the winter transfer window: “If I can change by loan during the winter break, that might be an option,” he told Dutch outlet Algemeen Dagblad.