Ghost games biggest challenge ahead, says Bayern coach Flick


By Oliver Trust

Bayern Munich head coach Hansi Flick called games behind closed doors one of the biggest challenges ahead for his side.

The 55-year-old said mental strength and concentration abilities might decide about this season’s titles as soon as national leagues and international competitions are continued.

Despite the unusual situation, Bayern is ambitious to win all possible titles, the former midfielder said.

After having signed a contract until 2023 with the 2013 treble winner, the former assistant coach added his future in coaching is in the role of a head coach. He announced more tactical variety in Bayern’s future game as a line-up with two strikers is in his mind.

But first of all, the challenge of games behind closed doors is waiting.

“Teams will have to get used to a totally different atmosphere. You have to accept the circumstances and, at the same time, entirely focus on your own game,” the Bavarians head coach said in a video interview with Xinhua.

He compared the possible ghost games ahead to a season curtain-raiser. “No one really knows about the condition of the opponent and how satisfying your level is when it comes to competitive games,” he commented.

Coaching staff and players need to set up specialized training to get used to the new challenge.

To run ghost games requires a special preparation as “the entire team needs to get along with it and perform.”

Despite the 3-0 win in the first leg of the last-16-round of the Champions League against Premier League side, Chelsea things are not done yet, the Bayern coach emphasized.

“I can only tell you it’s not a done job yet. You have to be aware of what can happen when you find yourself in the middle of a game without emotions around on the stands,” the former German national team assistant underlined.

Flick pledged fans to be patient until a possible football restart, stay home and obey implemented safety rules. “I understand everyone wanting to go outside in sunny weather, but we all need to stand together and do all we can to keep infection numbers low,” the Bayern coach said.

Taking up training in small groups with the permission of the health authorities was warmly welcome for his team. “We strictly follow the rules, but the last two days have been a nice change,” he said.

After three weeks in running gear, even professionals need to get used to football gear again. He said his club fully trusts the implemented virus task force trying of the league association to find ways to run ghost games with a minimum number of people involved.

“It is clear we will follow the line.” It is up to the authorities and the associations to decide about the timing. The German national leagues intend to finish the 2019/2020 season by the end of June.

Reports speak of the intention to start the remaining nine rounds of matches by May.

A possible restart of league football isn’t the sign for a return to normal life but is eagerly awaited by fans, Flick commented.

To survive against compact acting opponents, the Bayern coach considers facing with a new tactical system. “A system with two strikers will be part of our tools for the next season,” Flick emphasized.

Bayern spearhead Robert Lewandowski is ready to play aside from a second front line striker, he said.

Flick expressed his satisfaction with Thomas Mueller, having extended his contract until 2023. The Bayern coach said he hopes for more to follow the former German internationals example.

He mentioned Manuel Neuer, David Alaba, and Thiago Alcantara. He praised the players’ progress “as they have been true cornerstones over the past six months.”

The Bavarians coach announced Bayern is going to increase its efforts regarding talent development. The professional team and the club’s youth academy strengthen their cooperation. “Everyone wants to see a new Alaba, Lahm, or Mueller in Bayern’s shirt,” he underlined.

Youth development is a vital part of his three-year plan, aside from titles. “Success means you develop as a team.”

Technical education comes first for youngsters. Taking part in the first team’s training is providing the best opportunity to do the next step, he said.

“For the youngsters and the coaching staff, it is a pleasure to work with that many world-class footballers around,” he said. Enditem


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