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Bayern eye top spot as feel-good factor returns under Flick

AFP  |  Berlin 

Bayern Munich are eyeing a return to top spot in the Bundesliga this weekend with interim boss Hansi Flick enjoying the best start in the club's impressive history.

They are third in the Bundesliga table ahead of Saturday's home game against Bayer Leverkusen, only a point behind leaders Moenchengladbach, who host fourth-placed Freiburg on Sunday.

Bayern underlined their form in Tuesday's 6-0 win at Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League when Robert Lewandowski scored four goals in 15 stunning minutes.

The romp handed Flick a fourth straight win, with 16 goals scored and none conceded, in the three weeks since being made interim coach after Niko Kovac was sacked.

No other coach has enjoyed a better start at Bayern.

"It's a tremendous series, we are on an incredible run," enthused club chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, who has said Flick will remain in charge until at least January.

With a game to spare, Bayern are through to the last 16 of the Champions League as guaranteed group winners.

Now Rummenigge has set the challenge of regaining top spot in the Bundesliga for the first time since early October.

"We are still only third and it would be nice if we could be looking down from the top by Christmas," he said.

"That should be our big goal."

A fifth straight win under Flick would set Bayern up for a showdown at Gladbach's Borussia Park a week on Saturday.

The secret to his immediate success has been how quickly Flick has won over Bayern's stars - no easy feat.

Under Kovac, nearly a third of Bayern's goals came from set-pieces, yet since Flick took charge, 15 of the Bayern's last 16 goals have come from open play.

Lewandowski has scored seven of them, but stars like Thomas Mueller, Philippe Coutinho and Javi Martinez are thriving again after struggling for form in Kovac's final weeks.

"The changes Flick has made are mainly tactical," said Coutinho.

"He places emphasis on compact, coordinated and, at times, high pressing so that our opponents can't get into their game.

"From the start, we understood what he wants on the pitch and in the changing room.

"That's why things are going well and we're all happy."


Germany stars Joshua Kimmich and Serge Gnabry, who were rested in Belgrade, are likely to start against Leverkusen.

Leon Goretzka, who capped a strong display with the opening goal in Belgrade, should keep his place after another outstanding midfield display.

One to watch: Jurgen Klinsmann

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The former Germany and USA head coach has been named interim boss until May at strugglers Hertha Berlin, who host Borussia Dortmund on Saturday.

However, both head coaches will be under scrutiny at Berlin's Olympic Stadium. Dortmund boss Lucien Favre is clinging onto his job in the wake of Wednesday's 3-1 defeat at Barcelona, the latest in a poor string of results.

"Favre must play against 'Klinsi' (Klinsmann) in his final chance," was how German daily Bild summed up the situation on Thursday.

Klinsmann took America to the last 16 of the 2014 World Cup and Germany to the semi-finals of the 2006 finals, but a decade has past since he last coached in the Bundesliga.

Bayern Munich sacked him in 2009 after just nine months and Klinsmann faces a huge challenge to pull Hertha up from 15th in the table.

Confidence is low after a fourth straight defeat in last Sunday's 4-0 drubbing at Augsburg.

Key stats

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11 - Hertha Berlin's points after 12 league games.

43 - Jurgen Klinsmann's matches as head coach before Bayern Munich fired him in 2008/09.

27 - Robert Lewandowski's goals in 20 matches for Bayern.

Fixtures (all times 1430 GMT unless stated) Friday

Schalke v FC Union Berlin (1930)

Saturday

Hoffenheim v Fortuna Duesseldorf, Hertha Berlin v Borussia Dortmund, Cologne v Augsburg, Paderborn v RB Leipzig, Bayern Munchen v Bayer Leverkusen (1730)

Sunday

Bor.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, November 29 2019. 13:55 IST
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