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David Alaba assesses Bayern Munich’s performance and his own at center-back

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Bayern’s interim “defense boss” David Alaba hesitates to say whether he sees himself in central defense in the long term.

1. FSV Mainz 05 v FC Bayern Muenchen - Bundesliga Photo by Alex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty Images

Ever since Hansi Flick took over as the head coach of Bayern Munich, we have witnessed some refinement within the team. David Alaba, whose career blossomed as a left-back, has been made to play in the central defense — in part to give more playing time to Canadian prodigy Alphonso Davies.

In an interview given to kicker, the Austrian assessed the team’s performance and opened up about his own comfort in his current position in the team.

Bayern got the better of Achim Beierlorzer’s Mainz on Saturday by a goal margin of 1-3 away. Although the visitors were able to grab the three points and earn themselves a spot on top of the Bundesliga table, the second half of the match was very much lustreless. The goals from Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Müller and Thiago Alcântara gave Bayern the advantage within the first 30 minutes of the game. When asked why the team had a weak performance for most part of the second half, Alaba said,

We ask ourselves that question, too. In the first half an hour, we were able to deliver on the pitch what we had planned. After the 3-0, we stopped executing our game a bit. We became more passive. Mainz then made more pressure and tried to press and attack sooner in our half. And the pitch was also not the best. If you play the ball 20 cm next to your man, it’s gone.

Even though he has been playing in central defence for quite sometime, Alaba is not yet completely sure whether the current position that Flick has assigned is optimal for him. “Oof!” (“puh!”) he said:

We’ll see. I’ve played it now a few times. It works very well on the team, because we have the ball very often and play high up the pitch. That suits me well.

With a bright start to the Rückrunde, the Bavarians are already on top of the table. Alaba thinks that self-confidence and letting the opponents know the power of the team will be essential moving forward:

Both, I think. For us, of course it’s extremely important that we get on a roll again, that we have this self-confidence and this playing style in us again, like we always used to. Then people see that we are hard to stop.

Now that Bayern is ranked 1st in the table, the next thing that needs to be done is to make sure to stay there and not drop any points. Speaking of the match against RB Leipzig this weekend, Alaba said that he thinks Die Roten are the favourites — given the results of the past few years,