At this point, Bayern Munich manager Hansi Flick has to be wondering when this will all end. Injuries, illnesses, and personal tragedies have all wrought havoc on the Bavarians’ roster over the past six weeks.
More, when Flick has had to reach down the depth chart, he has hit the harsh reality that he no longer has dependable and valuable players like Ivan Perisic or even Philippe Coutinho to come in and seamlessly fill-in.
Flick, though, has not lamented his standing.
We haven’t heard Flick make excuses about the injuries or the lack of quality reserves. The unflappable manager just trudges forward, believing in his system and his players.
These days, though, Flick privately has to be looking at a roster so severely depleted and wondering to himself how ended he ended up here:
- Thomas Müller: OUT
- Serge Gnabry: OUT
- Corentin Tolisso: OUT
- Douglas Costa: OUT
- Tanguy Nianzou: OUT
- Alexander Nübel: OUT
- Niklas Süle: DOUBTFUL
(This list is somehow becoming an weekly feature here)
At this point, Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting looks to be strictly best-served as a deep reserve, while Bouna Sarr is arguably the fourth-choice right-back on the roster. Marc Roca has potential, but is clearly a “not ready for prime time player” as of yet.
If this sounds like the injury plagues of years past, it’s just like Lord Helmet said in Spaceballs: “Even in the future nothing works!”
But you know what? That is the utter brilliance of Flick. You can criticize his tactics, his line-up selections, or his substitutions, but the man has always gotten results. His record — to this point — has already vaulted him to legendary status on the touchline in Bavaria.
When he takes the pitch tomorrow in Italy, Flick is not going to feel sorry for himself about the injuries or make excuses, he’s simply going to say, “My team is on the pitch.” If that sounds simple and familiar, it was the same sentiment that Gene Hackman doled out playing the role of Norman Dale in Hoosiers when he only put four players out on the basketball court.
Flick does not care who he has available; he only wants to get the most out of those 11 players who will line up against Lazio. If his history and performance has told us anything, it is that Flick will find a way to pull his team through.
Win or lose, there won’t be excuses or whining. That is Flick’s way — the right way and the only way. It might not be pretty and it might cause you some agita, but fans need to have some faith that Flick knows how to get the job done.
To this point, the 55-year-old has not given Bayern Munich fans any reason to think otherwise.
Hype music: “Deleter” by Grouplove
This might not following the previous hard rock titles that I’ve written about, but “Deleter” by Grouplove is an alternative rock song that hits the mark right form the beginning and never slows down.
While the track doesn’t have that hardcore or heavy feel to it, it’s fast, it’s upbeat, and I get a little rise in my outlook whenever it comes on my playlist.
If I was advising Michaël Cuisance how to change things up for his hype videos, I’d recommend he drops this track mixed in with his highlights and some subtle shots of him walking slowly through some “dangerous looking alley ways” or some of his training ground exploits.
For me, whenever I need a little boost for work or working out or whatever, getting a quality upbeat and fast-paced song of any genre is a good way to go. This track fits the bill. I hope you enjoy it like I do.
If you read the above, you’ll know I’m riding Team Flick on this pick.
Bayern Munich almost has too much going on to think it can rally against a very tough — and hungry — Lazio side. The Italians are offensively potent and eager to knock off the reigning Champions League winners, but it is fair to say that even in its banged up state, Lazio has not faced a backline as talented and experienced as that of Bayern Munich.
With five players to choose from for his four defensive roles, Hansi Flick still has viable options in Jerome Boateng, David Alaba, Lucas Hernandez, Alphonso Davies — and now Joshua Kimmich to make up the back-four.
It is widely expected that Kimmich will slot into his old stomping grounds at right-back in place of Benjamin Pavard (COVID-19), Niklas Süle (knock), and Bouna Sarr (poor performances). Should that happen, Bayern Munich’s midfield could weaken. The feeling here, though, is that Flick is not going trifle with positions as much as he is going to roll out his best possible XI — and to do that, he’ll need to play David Alaba in the central midfield, leaving a backline of Kimmich, Boateng, Hernandez, and Davies.
That unit will be talented, fast, and offer a treacherous duo at full-back, where both players can impact the game both offensively and defensively.
The midfield will likely be Alaba and Goretzka working the double-pivot (with Goretzka often venturing into the box to support the forwards), while Jamal Musiala looks likely to get the nod filling in for Müller.
Musiala is facing an impossible and thankless task, but he’ll be supported by the best there is in Robert Lewandowski, along with two supremely talented wings in Kingsley Coman and Leroy Sane.
There might be no reason to think Bayern Munich can “turn the corner” based on how it has played recently, but the Bavarians have too much speed and too much talent to think they won’t be up for this challenge.
Prediction: Lazio 1-3 Bayern Munich
And now on to our guest prognosticator:
Samrin_TwinkleFCB: Samrin laid out her rationale during this awesome look at the Champions League matches for both Bayern Munich and Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Prediction: Lazio 1-2 Bayern
Last weekend was kind to my predictions for sure. This was one of the weeks where I had some “vision” on most of the games in looking at the trends and recent performances. My best pick of the weekend was a draw between Bayer Leverkusen and FC Augsburg.
I had originally thought about Leverkusen getting a win, but when I looked closer they just have looked susceptible of late and left me feeling like they’ve hit a bit of a wall.
Conversely, I ignored all of the warning signs about Eintracht Frankfurt in a game that was blatantly obvious as a potential loss for Bayern Munich.
In the end, I’ll take the 6-3 record, but I’ve got to be better at trusting the obvious signs.
Last Bundesliga match day record: 6-3
Overall record: 105-101*
Guest predictors’ record: 22-4
(*includes DFL-Supercup, DFB-Pokal, and Champions League)