AOn the first of Advent, the medical department was required. One day after FC Bayern’s 3-1 (2-1) win at VfB Stuttgart, the doctors had to bring coach Hans-Dieter “Hansi” Flick up to date in four cases: Lucas Hernández, Jérôme Boateng and Corentin Tolisso had Flick was replaced due to physical complaints, and Javi Martínez, who was brought into the game shortly before the end, also had problems. “It’s an enormous burden,” said Flick about this phase of the season. After all: Apparently nobody is out any longer.
The people of Munich hardly have any breaks. Before Corona there were often three weeks between matches in the Champions League, now it’s usually just seven days. In contrast to other coaches such as Jürgen Klopp from Liverpool FC, Flick does not want to complain about the game plan during the pandemic.
You have to accept that, he emphasizes again and again and praises sports director Hasan Salihamidzic, who has broadly positioned the squad with the purchases. Flick doesn’t want to give the players an alibi. The 55-year-old also says what is obvious: “The team is at the limit.”
Dortmund played every 4.5 days
His Bavarians have been battling fatigue for weeks. Since the start of the season, they have played a game every 4.2 days. The burden for all international teams is enormous, Borussia Dortmund played every 4.5 days, Borussia Mönchengladbach and RB Leipzig every 4.9 days. For the national players, there were also international games in addition to the games with their clubs.
In these English weeks, the defensive weaknesses of the record champions will increase without the long-injured Joshua Kimmich as stabilizer in midfield. 13 goals conceded after nine games – that is the worst figure for Bayern since 2008, back then under coach Jürgen Klinsmann. The opponents feel how much the Bayern torture themselves. “You can see that they are badly staffed, that they have too many games and too little vacation,” said VfB captain Gonzalo Castro. “You’re already walking your gums.”
But so far nobody can stop Bayern. You are currently unable to dominate a game over the entire length and make an unusually large number of mistakes. “We invite the opponent to chances”, stated Leon Goretzka aptly. However, their individual quality and offensive force are enough to win.
Stuttgart lost deservedly despite a courageous performance, pursuer Dortmund surprisingly lost 2-1 to relegation candidate 1. FC Köln. Bayern lead the table – and even set records in this difficult phase. 22 points after nine games means the best start to the season in four years.
As many goals as Frankfurt in 1974/1975
And Douglas Costas 3-1 was already the 31st league goal of the Munich team – only Eintracht Frankfurt 1974/75 had scored that many goals at this point in the season. “We all know that we are currently not getting a beauty award,” said Flick. “But we deliver results. It was important that we didn’t leave anything behind and get the points. We did that and under this category I tick it off. “
In Stuttgart, his team turned the game after the 0-1. “We are currently in a phase in which not everything is possible with a snap of the finger. It’s also nice to get through these uncomfortable moments. Every team that wants to be at the top has to get over it, ”said world champion Thomas Müller about the strain. “With my experience, I always try to inoculate and tickle some of my fellow players when it gets more difficult.”
That is exactly what Dortmund is missing. “We are very, very disappointed. It’s hard to accept that we lose to Cologne at home, ”said coach Lucien Favre. His Borussia partly fell into well-known patterns from previous years: the attack game was static, partly without imagination. Cologne scored both times from a corner.
Five of the nine goals that Dortmund had to accept this season came from standard situations. After the BVB defense had stabilized in recent weeks, an old breaking point broke open again against Cologne. This annoys Favre enormously.
Borussia ran an average of almost nine kilometers less than the Cologne team without a win in 18 consecutive league games. And that, although Favre had started the rotary machine: Five new players were part of the starting line-up. But the offensive in particular seemed uninspired. The team couldn’t be tired, but the mental speed was lacking – with Marco Reus and Julian Brandt, with some cutbacks with Jadon Sancho.
Favre also criticized his young star striker Erling Haaland, who missed a big chance in the final stages of the game. He’s not accusing a player of that sort of thing, the coach said. “But he moved too little, made too few runs in depth.”
For BVB and Bayern things are going on in rapid succession. Dortmund will play in the Champions League against Lazio Rome on Wednesday, the Munich team will fly to Madrid today, where they will play at Atlético on Tuesday. On Saturday they will receive RB Leipzig in the top game of the Bundesliga. Again, hardly any time to relax.
But the players stick to Flick’s exemplified motto, not to quarrel. “If you look at the table,” said Müller, “then many would like to have our problems.”