Feature: Flick’s first title for starters

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BERLIN, June 16 (Xinhua) — Last November, Hansi Flick was probably the most underrated Bundesliga coach. Taking Bayern Munich from sacked Niko Kovac, the 55-year-old seemed no more than a temporary replacement.

Just over six months later, the former assistant has become the architect of a promising team, having wrapped up its eighth consecutive title two rounds before the season’s end after beating relegation strugglers Werder Bremen 1-0 behind closed doors.

Having pegged back a seven-point deficit in the domestic league, Bayern meanwhile is currently regarded as one of Europe’s top teams. For good reason, the 30th league championship is hoped to be only the starters for this unusual season.

With Flick at the helm, winning the national cup competition and the Champions League are both distinct possibilities for the record German league champions.

Six months ago, very few would expect highly to the man now riding the crest of the wave after winning his first major title as a head coach. The former assistant coach was never viewed as having the potential to take charge of a team.

The job at Bayern was his opportunity to step on the big stage. Passing all hardships and tests, Flick has been rewarded with a contract until 2023.

Now relying on a high pressing system, the Bavarians use a double six with a four man-defense. His tactical changes were spot on, 93 goals in 32 league games seem to indicate a determined team intent of breaking the 100-goal barrier in the remaining two games.

Under his coaching, struggling performers like Thomas Mueller, Jerome Boateng, David Alaba, Leon Goretzka, Thiago Alcantara, and Joshua Kimmich are all back in top form.

Players and influential officials like Uli Hoeness, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, and Oliver Kahn are praising his empathic character and feel reminded of the 2013 treble-winning coach Jupp Heynckes.

It is expected that winning the national cup on July 4 against Bayer Leverkusen in Berlin and the Champions League would make him Europe’s coach of the year.

Bayern’s performance seems to be opening doors for the main prize now. “We want it all, and we know we can do it,” striker Mueller announced.

Not even the turbulence caused by the COVID-19 crisis seems to have thrown him off course. Having to accept a break lasting several weeks before the Champions League can be continued in late August has become an advantage in his eyes.

“It gives us time to recover, that’s what we should be talking about,” Flick underlined. The reigning German champion has to wait until other major European leagues have finished their seasons.

By then at the latest, the slightly Flick may have turned into a party lover. After his first national title, celebrations had to remain subdued due to the corona-restrictions. The big smile running over his face in Bremen when the Bayern coach slipped over the prepared champions T-shirt nevertheless speaks of his pride. Enditem

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