Interim coach Hansi Flick demands response from Bayern stars
Bayern Munich interim coach Hansi Flick says his players have a responsibility to respond following the departure of Niko Kovac and weekend drubbing at Eintracht Frankfurt.
Flick will take charge of the Bundelisga champions for the first time during Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Greek side Olympiacos at the Allianz Arena.
Bayern on Sunday parted company with former manager Kovac after a humiliating 5-1 defeat by Frankfurt the previous day.
“We’re looking forward and we have to concentrate on what’s ahead,” said Flick on the Bayern website.
“I’m looking forward to the match against Olympiacos. The players have a responsibility now.
“It’s my job to speak to everyone and point out to them what they’re capable of and what I expect from them, but professional football is not a one-man show.
“We have lots of experts in the team who can all be involved. I’m a team player and I have a good connection with the players. I want to motivate them.”
Bayern lead Group B with maximum points from three games but are four points off the top of the Bundesliga following two defeats and a draw in their past four league fixtures.
Flick was having dinner with his wife when Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic approached him about taking charge of Bayern on a temporary basis.
The 54-year-old said it was difficult to immediately step into Kovac’s shoes but felt compelled to accept the position “out of loyalty to the club”.
“I have come to regard Niko very highly over the past months, so it wasn’t an easy situation,” said Flick.
“Niko is always honest and straight to the point. He said goodbye with class – a lot of people had a lump in their throat.”
He added: “It all happened very quickly on Sunday evening. I was sitting having dinner with my wife when the call came from Hasan Salihamidzic. I then drove to Sabener Strasse (Bayern’s training ground) and the situation was explained to me.
“I was clear about putting myself forward for the coaching position, out of loyalty to the club.”
Aside from Niklas Sule and Lucas Hernandez, who are out with long-term injuries, Flick will have a fully-fit squad to select from against Olympiacos.
He is eager to tighten up a defence which has has failed to keep a clean sheet in the past eight games in all competitions and conceded 17 goals during that time.
“We’ll make the odd change. The goals we’ve been conceding were not Bayern-like,” said Flick.
“For me, it’s important the team are proactive. We need to defend from the front and try to win the ball back as quickly as possible. They’re the points we want to address.”
Olympiacos manager Pedro Martins does not believe Bayern’s approach will be dramatically affected by the departure of Kovac.
“In fact, we expect no major changes. Their new coach has had no time to proceed with changes,” said Martins, according to his club’s website.
“Perhaps different players will be fielded or their formation changed, but we are not able to know more about their line-up.
“I reckon, however, their philosophy will remain the same.
“Our aspirations are high and we want to make history in Allianz Arena.”
Martins, who saw his team beaten 3-2 by Bayern in Piraeus a fortnight ago, expects to have former France midfielder Mathieu Valbuena available following injury.