Bayern Munich manager Hansi Flick is a master strategist who has largely been credited with being able to devise the game plans that stifled Lionel Messi both in the 2014 World Cup and in last season’s Champions League quarterfinals.
Clearly, Flick knows how to identify a special talent, but before he can start to develop a strategy on how to stop such a good player, Flick allows himself to appreciate the skill and ability of the opposition.
With regard to Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland, Flick can see a player who not only has the physical tools and skill, but also the burning desire to score.
“He is how a center forward has to be and how Lewy (Robert Lewandowski) embodies it: He is extremely hungry for goals,” said Flick to Sport 1. “The future can belong to him if he continues like this. He has everything it takes: he’s fast, has a good finish and the mentality to want to win games and score goals. You can also see that in the intensity when he makes 80-meter sprints to put in a rebound in front. That’s top-notch. That’s what sets him apart. You have to watch out for him.”
While Flick knows stopping Haaland is no easy task, there is no doubt that he has prepared his backline to deal with the powerful Norwegian in the best possible way.
“As much as possible, we have to be in the spaces in which he moves, so that he can not be played (the ball). We also need pressure on the ball,” Flick said.
Alphonso Davies, David Alaba, Jerome Boateng and Niklas Süle will likely be tasked with that assignment. Even against a great talent like Haaland, however, it would be tough to bet against Flick and his ability put together a plan to at least slow down the hard-charging 20-year-old striker.