Despite boding quite well for himself when Hansi Flicked has called upon him for Bayern Munich, Lucas Hernandez certainly has not played as much as he would’ve liked to so far this season. After starting a handful of matches in the beginning of the season, Flick started to go back to starting Alphonso Davies most often at left back instead of Hernandez. He’s predominantly been used as a left back in his 29 appearances across all competitions this season, but he’s also been used as a center back, which is part of what makes him such a useful asset for Bayern and the French National Team.
In a recent interview with L’Equipe (via Sport1), Hernandez said that he’s always felt a sense of trust with Flick and Bayern’s coaching staff, even during the periods where he doesn’t get as much playing time. “It’s true that I’ve had phases when I played less and other times when I played more, but he [Flick] always had confidence in me,” he said, adding that Flick is “always counting” on him.
Hernandez started at center back and played the full 90 minutes in Bayern’s recent 3-1 at Werder Bremen, after which Flick had said it was great to have a player like Hernandez in the squad. For that affair, David Alaba was out with a minor muscular problem and Hernandez got the nod to start alongside Jerome Boateng instead of Niklas Sule. “When a coach talks about you like that, it’s always flattering. He knows it doesn’t matter if I’m ten, Play for 30 or 90 minutes - I always give it my all. And he likes that,” he said of Flick’s praise.
Looking forward, Hernandez revealed that Bayer is planning for him to be used more as a center back, especially sine Alaba and likely Jerome Boateng will leaving Bayern this summer as well as Javi Martinez. “It’s difficult at the moment because the established players are at a very high level. But I still have three and a half years of contract,” he explained of his future as a center back at Bayern. It’s a position he said is his “natural position” and they he really developed the trade during his time at Atletico Madrid. However, as he’s shown at Bayern, he said he feels “just as comfortable on the left as in the middle.”
One of the biggest differences between playing in defense at Atletico vs. Bayern for him was how often Bayern’s wide backs like to bomb forward. It was certainly an adjustment for him, as he said he’s far more defensively oriented as a player; “I’m a player who is more defensive, but when I’m supposed to attack, I’m there. And I like it too.” “I’m now playing for a team that has possession, which means that you move differently and know what to do when you have the ball,” he continued.
Of course, fellow French compatriot Dayot Upamecano will be joining the ranks at Bayern this summer, so Hernandez will have to compete with him for minutes alongside Sule and Boateng if he doesn’t wind up leaving Bayern this summer. Benjamin Pavard also possesses the ability to play as a center back as he had done often with VfB Stuttgart, but he’s predominantly used as a right back at Bayern.