If Hansi Flick is learning anything in his second year at the helm of Bayern Munich, it must be crisis management.
- A constant flow of injuries: ✔
- Multiple players with expiring contracts: ✔
- Tough integrations for new players to the roster: ✔
- Criticism of his tactics from fans: ✔
- Whispers of a rift between the coaching staff and front office: ✔
- The overall stress of dealing with a condensed schedule and a tired roster: ✔
With all of that going on around him, though, Flick has maneuvered this squad to 18 wins, four draws, and two losses in 24 competitive games.
Even with the stellar record, 2020/2021 has been anything but easy on Flick, but the man has persevered and dealt with each issue head-on. Fans and pundits might not like every answer or solution that Flick presents, but the 55-year-old is not afraid to address any topic, which is likely the same way he manages his roster.
Players respect that and fans should, too.
Is Flick, perhaps, a little stubborn? Sure. And he’s earned the right. Is he above questioning, though? Absolutely not.
Believe it or not, it is possible to respect and a support a manager, while not always agreeing with his/her decisions. It’s okay to wonder if the “high-line life” should be dialed down a bit. It’s also okay to think Marc Roca should be getting more playing time. And there is surely no problem with questioning why David Alaba remains in the lineup despite looking like he is in need of a rest.
All of that comes with the territory for Flick — and he knows it. Questioning the manager is part of the gig (unless you are talking about BFW...then I’ll just fire everyone. I kid, I kid).
It doesn’t make you any less of a fan to have doubts about your team, it just makes you invested. And in the end, that really a club wants from their supporters.
Quick random round-up
These are crazy times and my schedule has been somehow more crazy. Here some random quick hitters:
- Believe it or not, I still have not started Cobra Kai season three. Part of that was because I was hooked into the The Mandalorian for a bit, but the other part is that I’ve been busy as hell and unable to get the desire up to start a new season of anything. I’m excited to start it, but I have been passing out every night (because I’ve been tired...not because I’ve been drunk! Okay...maybe a few times). I just need to not be exhausted at the end of one day to get moving on it.
- If anyone needs a perfect example of what happens when a coach and front office can’t get aligned, look no further than the Philadelphia Eagles. After months of whispers about discontent and even more rumors about disagreements on draft picks and coaching staff selections, the NFL team fired Doug Pederson — the only coach to lead them to a Super Bowl victory. This became especially relevant this week with rumors that Flick and the front office might be at odds. Flick, himself, quickly discounted that assertion, but so did Pederson multiple times over the past two years. I’m not saying anyone should be worried about Bayern Munich, but it does appear there is at least a little misalignment on some things in Bavaria. Like always, though, a strong leadership group can overcome just about anything. And that is the difference between Bayern Munich and the Philadelphia Eagles. I would not expect Flick to go “full Pederson” any time soon.
- My wife was watching Bridgerton and she described the show as being about “courting.” To me, though, it looked a heck of a lot more like it was about “courtin’ and a sparkin’” as Granny Clampett once said on The Beverly Hillbillies (I am terrorized by the dumb stuff I remember. Why would that stick in my head?). I mean, the premise does not interest me at all, so whatever, but every time I walked by the television I felt like a 12-year-old channel surfing Skine-max...err, Cinemax After Dark back in the late 80s when I should have been sleeping.
- Sometimes I sit back and think about what life was like at this exact time a year ago. Last January, I was aware of COVID-19, but it had not hit me in any tangible way. Life...was normal. Fast forward a year later, I’ve seen multiple people I know get diagnosed with coronavirus, had to severely adjust everything I do in life, and totally get used to a new way of living. It has not been easy for anyone and I feel lucky to have been off COVID-19’s radar for as long as I have made it. But man...I feel bad for the kids who are losing key years of their childhood and maybe being forced to grow up a little earlier than they should have to. This generation will likely be a little more hardened and a little stronger, but it would be great if they could just get some of that time back to just be kids.
I’ll start off by saying Holstein Kiel is not a pushover by any means. That said, Bayern Munich should be poised and ready to take out a little hostility on the 2. Bundesliga side.
There is no way to get a full idea of what exactly Hansi Flick has in store with his lineup, but we should see at least a little bit of rotation defensively. It seems like the Bavarians might need a little stability after a very disappointing result at Borussia Mönchengladbach last Friday.
Even with Kingsley Coman and Leon Goretzka out of the lineup, Holstein Kiel will have a lot of trouble keeping up with whoever Flick starts at wing and in the central midfield. The likely candidates to lineup on the wing are Leroy Sane, Serge Gnabry, Douglas Costa, Thomas Muller, and Jamal Musiala, while Flick could opt for Marc Roca, Javi Martinez, Corentin Tolisso, or Musiala to lineup along side Joshua Kimmich in the central midfield.
Whoever starts, though, will almost certainly have the benefit of working with Robert Lewandowski and Muller in some capacity. The offense should carry this game through.
Prediction: Holstein Kiel 0-4 Bayern Munich
Now on to our guest prognosticator:
Bayern will concede first, as always. Holstein will put up a fight like many others have done in the Pokal against Bayern, but Bayern will score twice to advance through the second round.
Prediction: Holstein Kiel 1-2 Bayern Munich
Eh....let’s not talk about last week.
Last Bundesliga match day record: 1-8
Overall record: 71-70*
Guest predictors’ record: 18-3
(*includes DFL-Supercup, DFB-Pokal, and Champions League)