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Daily Schmankerl: Bayern Munich’s Hansi Flick has been better than ever; Juventus to move on Philippe Coutinho?; Thiago Alcantara done for 2020?; Nicolas Pepe still a mess with Arsenal; and MORE!

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Bayern Munich manager Hansi Flick will lead a stripped down roster into Madrid for Champions League action today.

FC Bayern Muenchen - Press Conference And Training Session Photo by Handout/FC Bayern via Getty Images

Flick has been better than ever (Bavarian Football Works)

Bayern Munich manager Hansi Flick did the unthinkable last season. He took over a team that was underachieving and confused, re-molded the pieces, communicated effectively, gained the confidence of the roster, and led the squad to a run of unprecedented success.

Simply put, Flick’s 2019/2020 season was nothing short of amazing.

And you know what? He’s been even better this season.

Not only has Flick dealt with a changed and evolving roster with numerous players having left or who are on the verge of leaving, he’s integrated a mega-talent like Leroy Sane as well as a slew of veteran back-ups. Flick has also taken the club’s compact and rigorous schedule and met it head-on by managing the squad to a 14-1-1 record through 16 games across all competitions.

FC Bayern Munich - RB Salzburg
In the heat of the season, it can be hard to remember that Hansi Flick is managing this campaign with aplomb. Bayern Munich’s manager should be considered among the world’s best.
Photo by Sven Hoppe/picture alliance via Getty Images

Sure, you could argue that maybe Flick has leaned too hard on players like Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller, Leon Goretzka, and Manuel Neuer, but the 55-year-old has an inherent feel for how far to push his boys and when to step off the gas — as evidenced by his decision to leave Lewandowski, Goretzka, and Neuer home for today’s match against Atletico Madrid.

The testament of a manager is the relationship he or she maintains with a roster and just how much he or she can extract from that roster without wearing it down. For Flick, he’s gotten just about as much as possible.

Late transfer window pick-ups not up to par? Flick has a plan for that.

Losing two absolutely crucial players in Alphonso Davies and Joshua Kimmich for an extended period? Flick has a plan for that, too.

Managing a roster littered with aging veterans through a treacherous schedule? Flick has done just about as well as anyone could have thought possible.

Has it always been pretty? Nope. Have there been some frustrating moments? Absolutely. Flick, though, is judged on his ability to find a way to win...and he’s been excellent with that.

So, while Flick might have just been considered an interim solution to survive the season at this point of last season, there is no doubt that he has entered the discussion as the world’s best manager just a year later.

#StickWithFlick has done the trick and more.

Coutinho to Juve? (Transfer Market Web)

With its negotiations with Paulo Dybala going nowhere of late, Juventus might be thinking of a contingency plan in the form of FC Barcelona’s Philippe Coutinho:

According to latest Italian news, Juventus management, despite relying a lot on resident young powerhouse Dejan Kulusevski, are planning to raise the stakes halfway through the season, and go for a new top player. To this end, Bianconeri are pondering over a further trade involving Barcelona FC, notably regarding Brazilian international attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho (28). Blaugrana, on their hand, are planning to listen to €70m bids or higher, among the ones aimed at former Liverpool and Bayern Munich playmaker

Thiago done for the calendar year? (@IanDoyleSport)

Thiago Alcantara might have left Bavaria, but he brought his bad luck with injuries with him to Liverpool. According to the Liverpool Echo reporter Ian Doyle, Thiago’s injury has been hard to diagnose, which has caused confusion and delay (yes, I have a child who used to love Thomas the Train):

Gunners want to avoid Ozil situation with Pepe (Sky Sports)

Arsenal’s record-signing of Nicolas Pepe looks worse by the day...while Bayern Munich’s inability to land the winger looks more and more fortunate:

Let’s kick things off today with news about the future of Nicolas Pepe, who is set to be eased out of Arsenal, according to reports in the Daily Star on Sunday. However, the Gunners are desperate to avoid a repeat of the Mesut Ozil situation with their £72m club-record signing.

Would you buy tickets? (@esmullert)

Thomas Müller referred to himself, Niklas Süle, and David Alaba as the “FCB boyband” in his latest Instagram post and it actually works. Süle, though, had no time for a neck tie.

The recent Süle saga is nothing short of entertainment at this point. It almost feels like Süle is starring in a movie where he’s doing everything possible to rebel against his crotchety old man (in this case Hansi Flick). Nikki “No Tie” will probably get benched for breaking travel attire protocol now:

Thauvin on the move? (Transfer Market Web)

One-time Bayern Munich target Florian Thauvin is drawing interest from both Bayer Leverkusen and AC Milan:

According to latest German news, both AC Milan and Bayer Leverkusen are still after French international attacking midfielder/winger Florian Thauvin (27). Olympique de Marseille are planning to make about 16 million euros out of his sale.