As the head coach of Bayern Munich, Hansi Flick is eyeing his first Bundesliga title. In fact, with three games to spare, it could come as early as this weekend.
As soon as on Saturday, Bayern Munich could be crowned Bundesliga champions in the recently resumed tournament. Yet coach Hansi Flick expects closest rivals Borussia Dortmund to keep his team waiting.
Should Dortmund lose to lowly Fortuna Dusseldorf, the silverware will be won later in the day by a Bayern home victory over Borussia Monchengladbach. With three rounds of games remaining, they would then be 10 points clear.
Flick is, however, doubtful that Dortmund would mess up in Dusseldorf.
“Dortmund will do everything to win that game,” Flick said. “Every footballer has the drive to give everything as long as something is still possible says.
“We will focus on our game, which we want to win. The game will be difficult because Gladbach is a good team.”
Moreover, Bayern is hampered by the absence of both their chief goal creator and their most powerful finisher. Because of the accumulation of yellow cards, Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski are both suspended.
This means a glimpse of the future of this weekend’s team could be made, with Joshua Zirkzee to be a likely starter against Gladbach.
The 19-year-old Dutch forward showed fleeting glimpses of his talent this season but only played in the Bundesliga for 191 minutes, scoring three goals in that time.
Flick says he has “one or two options” for replacing Muller and Lewandowski, and he was reported to have spent extra time with Zirkzee in training on Thursday
“He is a good size and is nevertheless very agile, has a good finish and holds the ball well,” Flick said of the teenager.
“These are things that you need as a striker here with us. He is on the right track and for tomorrow is definitely a good alternative. Joshua also has the trust of the other players.”
Nonetheless, on Friday, Flick spoke of the leadership qualities of Muller, and how they could be missed, suggesting that the team should come together to share responsibility.
“Thomas Muller is certainly someone who leads the team,” Flick said, quoted on Bayern’s official website.
“But we will replace that together tomorrow. The important thing is that we tackle the whole thing as a team.”
Also promoted to senior squad for the Allianz Arena match was Otschi Wriedt, a 25-year-old Ghanaian from Bayern’s reserve-team ranks.
Flick said that there was an element of tiredness in the performance of Bayern during the DFB-Pokal win over Eintracht Frankfurt on Wednesday, but stressed that his team “would like to continue.”
There’s a potential treble for them this season, with a cup final against Bayer Leverkusen on July 4 followed by the anticipated Champions League finish in August.
Thiago Alcantara misses out on this weekend and will be absent after groin surgery for the rest of the Bundesliga season, though Niklas Sule and Philippe Coutinho are close to returning to training with the squad after injury and may still appear in this competition again.
If Bayern does win this season of Bundesliga, it will be for the eighth straight year.