Lothar Matthaeus esc prior to the Bundesliga match between Borussia Moenchengladbach and Borussia Dortmund(Getty)
Lothar Matthaeus esc prior to the Bundesliga match between Borussia Moenchengladbach and Borussia Dortmund(Getty)

Flick the perfect coach for Bayern: Matthaeus

  • An improved atmosphere for players at Bayern Munich is the secret to the Bavarian club’s dominance at home and in Europe, according to Lothar Matthaeus.
By Bhargab Sarmah
PUBLISHED ON JAN 09, 2021 06:09 AM IST

An improved atmosphere for players at Bayern Munich is the secret to the Bavarian club’s dominance at home and in Europe, according to Lothar Matthaeus. The German football great also said his former teammate and friend Hansi Flick is the “perfect coach” for Bayern.

Speaking to a group of reporters from Asia during a video interaction ahead of the weekend’s Bundesliga meeting between Borussia Monchengladbach and Bayern, clubs he has played for, Matthaeus lauded Flick. “I have known Hansi Flick for 35 years. I was playing with him at Bayern Munich in the 80s. I have a friendship with him and his family too, we are very close. He is a fantastic person and a fantastic coach. Maybe, you don’t know the story but I was the coach of Red Bull Salzburg 14 years ago. And who do you think was my assistant coach? Hansi Flick,” said Matthaeus, who captained Germany to the 1990 Fifa World Cup triumph, won seven Bundesliga titles with Bayern and the Serie A title once with Inter Milan.

“I know his qualities, I know him as a person. He came to Bayern 14 months ago and he changed everything. The players remained the same, as under (predecessor Niko) Kovac but he gave the players a better feeling. He made them better players; he gave them a family atmosphere. He is the perfect coach for Bayern Munich and I hope he will stay for many, many years.”

Under Flick, Bayern have lost only thrice in 59 games but one of them was a 1-2 defeat against Moenchengladbach, in 2019.

Bench worry

Speaking about Bayern’s bench strength, Matthaeus said: “Bayern’s bench is not strong enough to maybe have the same results as last year. The first 14-15 players at Bayern are high quality players. But behind them, they are missing the quality they had last year. Last season, (Philippe) Coutinho, Thiago (Alcantara) and (Ivan) Perisic were playing for Bayern. Now, they have lost three key players and they get only Leroy Sane (in the transfer window), who comes after a long injury break. So Bayern start the season without three quality players.

“Because the dream of Bayern is to repeat the treble of last year, you need more than 14-15 players. Because you will lose players to injuries and suspensions, so you have to prepare for this, especially in this time when you play two games every week. Some other clubs have a better bench than Bayern, although not better players,” he said.

Matthaeus said that Sane, who arrived from Manchester City ahead of this season, will need time to settle down. “We know him from Schalke. He has been a Bundesliga player before; he is a German national team player and he is talented. Sane is a very fast player, a good dribbler. In Manchester, he had a different system in the club because Pep Guardiola and Hansi Flick are different coaches in terms of mentality, caring and the system on the field. And it’s not so easy to come to the best team in the world, the Champions League winners; you have to work to get a place in the first XI.”

“(Serge) Gnabry and (Kingsley) Coman did a very good job last season, scored a lot of goals. Leroy is surely not at 100% at the moment but Bayern Munich is a club that gives players the time that they need to come to their highest level. And then, when he has the mentality and he wants to give something back, he can make a difference in the future in the big games. But first, he has to understand the Bayern Munich system.”

Asked if Monchengladbach head coach Marco Rose could take over at Borussia Dortmund, who sacked Lucien Favre last month, Matthaeus said: “He (Rose) has a lot of experience and he is a very good coach. If he feels Dortmund is the next step for him, he has to go there. But if feels good at Monchengladbach and about the potential in the team, then he has to stay. I can’t advise him but I just hope that he stays in the Bundesliga because he has played spectacular football with his team.”

“Parties with Maradona”

Once described by Diego Maradona as his toughest opponent, Matthaeus and the Argentine legend played against each other in two World Cup finals. The two also shared a rivalry when Matthaeus played for Inter and Maradona was at Napoli. Expressing his shock at Maradona’s death at the age of 60 in November, Matthaeus said: I couldn’t believe it but then I started receiving calls from journalists asking me for my reaction. Of course, I was upset that somebody like Maradona, in a young age, would leave us. I will always remember very well about this great player, about the competition between our national teams, between Inter Milan and Napoli in the Serie A.

“It was a great time when we had our competition against each other. I had a couple of parties with him too after games. I cannot say we were close friends but we were football friends and we respected each other. Diego was doing so much for football; he made so many people happy, especially in his home country Argentina. We miss him; he was one of the best players ever in the history of football.”

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