Per a new report from SportBild, Hansi Flick spoke about some of the personnel decisions that significantly helped him lead Bayern Munich to treble success. A hierarchy of veteran players, he felt, really helped rejuvenate the squad after Niko Kovac left last November.
Flick highlighted three key players on this veteran core: “First and foremost, obviously, is our captain Manuel Neuer. Thomas [Müller] definitely also is one of the leading players, as is Robert Lewandowski, who as the most forward player gives the first important impulse when our team attacks.”
It should come as no surprise that Neuer, Muller, and Lewandowski have all been in sensational form since Flick has taken charge of the club. Lewandowski had the best scoring season of his entire career, Muller broke the single-season assists record in the Bundesliga, and Neuer made several massive saves in Bayern’s title run-ins in all competitions, including three big saves in the Champions League final against PSG.
For Muller’s case, he had fallen out of favor under Kovac and spent most of his time in the beginning stages of the season as a substitute. That quickly changed when Flick was at the helm, and Muller was highly effective en route to tallying a record number of assists in the league. Flick felt it was necessary to give a player like Muller leadership roles and responsibilities as a club veteran.
The Raumdeuter himself said that it was important for him that Flick showed restored confidence in him: “For a leadership role as I was most recently allowed to hold, it’s important that the coach declares his confidence in you.”
In defense, Flick had dubbed veteran David Alaba Bayern’s “defensive chief.” His move to center-back from left-back this season proved to be one of the most pivotal tactical decisions. The Austrian exceeded expectations in his new role and was one of Bayern’s most consistent performers throughout the season. Flick said that the 28-year old was also a vocal leader during matches: “In the central defense, David Alaba is the player who talks the most and has made a fantastic development.”
Even Jerome Boateng felt that his fortunes would improve significantly under Flick. Of course, his playing time was aided by the long-term injury to Niklas Sule, but his form steadily improved as the season progressed. Kovac didn’t give him his first start until match week 4 in the Bundesliga, but by that point, Boateng felt that he didn’t feel he had Kovac’s full faith. Under Flick, he said, it was clear the opportunities would continue to come as long as he stayed fit and performed well: “It was clear to me that I would get a fair chance under Hansi Flick if I showed that I’m fit and found my rhythm again.”