Bayern interim coach Flick braces for league debut as Wenger waits - GulfToday

Bayern interim coach Flick braces for league debut as Wenger waits


Bayern Munich’s interim head coach Hans-Dieter Flick during their Champions League Group B against Olympiakos in Munich on Wednesday. Agence France-Presse

Even as Arsene Wenger is reportedly in talks with Bayern Munich to potentially become their new head coach, plugging the club’s leaky defence and inspiring some confidence is a priority for interim coach Hansi Flick, who has his work cut out ahead of Saturday’s Bundesliga clash with visitors Borussia Dortmund.

Assistant coach Flick was put in temporary charge after Niko Kovac was sacked in the wake of Bayern’s humiliating 5-1 drubbing at Eintracht Frankfurt.

That defeat left Bayern in fourth place, four points off surprise leaders Borussia Moenchengladbach in the tightest Bundesliga title race in years.

Long-term injuries to defenders Niklas Suele and Lucas Hernandez present a major problem for Flick with Bayern leaking goals all season and facing one of the league’s most potent attacks.

Bayern have conceded 16 goals in 10 league games, the same as strugglers Fortuna Duesseldorf and more than 14th-placed Union Berlin.

“We will undertake one or two changes,” Flick said after his first training session this week. “The way we have been conceding goals is not very Bayern-like.

“It is important for the team to be active. We have to defend from the front and try to get the ball back as quickly as possible. Those are the points we want to address.” Bayern took a step forward on Wednesday, beating Olympiakos in the Champions League 2-0 for their first clean sheet in all competitions since Sept. 21.

But it is not just the defence that Flick, a former Germany assistant coach, must address. Confidence is a major issue for a side who find themselves in an unfamiliar position after dominating the league for years. Bayern have won the last seven consecutive league titles, the best run in the history of the Bundesliga, but they have not been firing on all cylinders this season.

High-profile signing Philippe Coutinho has been disappointing so far, while the club has depended almost exclusively on Robert Lewandowski’s scoring ability with the Pole having netted 14 times in 10 games so far. Dortmund will be going into the game brimming with confidence after their win over the previously unbeaten VfL Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga last week and their comeback victory over Inter Milan in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Dortmund, in second place on 19 points, one ahead of Bayern, were trailing 2-0 at halftime against the Italians before scoring three times to clinch victory.

Leaders Gladbach host Werder Bremen on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Wenger is reportedly in talks with Bayern to potentially become their new head coach while Ralf Rangnick, another possible candidate, is said to not be interested. Wenger, 70, gave an evasive answer when broadcaster beIn Sports directly asked him about working at Bayern, who dismissed Niko Kovac on Sunday in the wake of a 5-1 drubbing at Eintracht Frankfurt.

According to German daily     Bild,     talks have taken place between Wenger and Bayern with club chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge leading the search to find Kovac’s replacement.

Wenger, who speaks fluent German, coached Arsenal from October 1996 until May 2018 and said that he misses some aspects of coaching.

While Wenger has enjoyed his year away from football, the satisfaction of winning matches and preparing players is “something you miss, of course,” said the Frenchman.

Meanwhile, Rangnick, currently head of sport and development at Red Bull and the previous sports director at Bundesliga side RB Leipzig, is reportedly the latest big name to turn Bayern down.

“Ralf is not available. We don’t believe that what Ralf Rangnick is all about is currently being sought by Bayern,”


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