Philippe Coutinho still has not hit his stride at Bayern Munich despite showing flashes of just how good he can be when in form — most notably, his hat-trick performance against Werder Bremen in the Hinrunde. He’s rarely earned a starting spot under Hansi Flick, but just prior to the team’s departure for London Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said he remains hopeful that the Brazilian international can turn his fortunes around with a string of positive performances (Bild).
When he was asked about Coutinho’s struggles for Bayern thus far, Rummenigge acknowledged them, but could not put a finger on why the Brazilian continues to seem lost on the pitch:
That’s a difficult question. I think he has played well in some games, and in other games he gives the impression that something is holding him back. I don’t know what the reason is.
At this point, Coutinho has scored 7 goals and has provided 8 assists in a total of 28 appearances across competitions, most them as a substitute. Rummenigge reiterated the point that everyone at Bayern is doing everything in their power to help Coutinho succeed:
It’s a fact that we all believe he’s an outstanding player. We see that in training and also in games sometimes. Everyone is trying to help him — the coach, his teammates.
Bayern has a packed schedule ahead as they compete on three fronts. Rummenigge said he hopes Coutinho can deliver strong performances when it really matters:
We now have to hope that he will be an important factor that helps us win titles in the decisive weeks that are beginning know.
It is an open secret that Coutinho’s performances have to improve dramatically for Bayern’s front office to consider negotiating Coutinho’s purchase from Barcelona once his loan spell technically ends. The notion of activating his €120m buyout clause seems preposterous at this point. Bayern’s will likely concentrate its efforts elsewhere, but there’s still plenty of football left to be played this season.