Bundesliga Bayern face Eintracht on Saturday
On November 2, 2019, Eintracht Frankfurt thrashed Bayern Munich 5-1 in what proved to be Niko Kovac’s final game in charge of the reigning Bundesliga champions.
The return fixture will be different, however, as Eintracht are struggling to find form while Bayern, now with Hansi Flick at the helm, are four points clear at the top of the Bundesliga.
“Every game is different; tactics have changed and we start at 0-0,” Flick insisted.
Bayern have to play Eintracht again before the season is over in what is set up to be an interesting semi-final in the DFB-Pokal.
Flick has gone taken Bayern from strength to strength since taking charge and that has seen him be rewarded with a contract renewal until 2023.
The German giants found themselves in fourth place and seven points off of then-leaders Borussia Monchengladbach, but they have come back and are now four points clear at the Bundesliga’s summit, with Flick being a big influence in the turnaround.
Since Flick’s reign began, Bayern are unbeaten in the league with 15 wins and one draw, are still in the DFB-Pokal and also have one foot in the quarter-finals of the Champions League after beating Chelsea 3-0 at Stamford Bridge back in March.
“We have changed our playing style and we now defend from the front,” Flick said.
“When I played for Bayern, we were happy with a 1-0 win. That doesn’t cut it anymore, we want to please the fans and try and win the treble.”
One of Flick’s main accomplishments has been getting the most out of Bayern’s more experienced players.
“If it hadn’t been for Flick, I may have moved on,” Jerome Boateng admitted.
Thomas Muller has recorded 16 assists this season, while in recent days goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has penned a new deal until 2023.
“He gets the best out of all of us and he has made a team with character and braveness,” Muller noted.
Since taking over as Bayern head coach, Flick has really silenced his critics and has been likened to Jupp Heynckes, who managed the Bavarian giants in three spells (1987-91, 2011-13 and 2017-18) before retiring from coaching.
“He is similar to Jupp in terms of leadership,” Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge explained.
“He has a fantastic relationship with all the players, he is empathetic and he challenges the squad tactically.”
Former Bayern midfielder Owen Hargreaves has even compared Flick with Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, who coached at the Allianz Arena before making the move to England.
“They play extraordinary football, he reminds me a little of Pep,” Hargreaves said.