FC Bayern Munich have confidently reached the Champions League quarter-finals against Lazio Rome (click here for the highlights of the game) and lead the Bundesliga – but paradoxically, there is still unrest.
If you didn’t know better, you could have seen Alexander Nübel’s line-up as a great reconciliation gift from Hansi Flick to Hasan Salihamidzic. Personnel is known to be one of the supposedly bigger issues between the coach, who does not want to be talked into his starting eleven, and the sports director, who is said to have promised Nübel a certain number of appearances.
In fact, the 24-year-old substitute keeper played against Lazio for one reason only, and that was because his undisputed superior Manuel Neuer was absent from a cold. In any case, Nübel made his third appearance for FC Bayern in the second leg of the second leg of the Champions League and was not noticed either positively or negatively. A sloppy pass from him was blocked, he parried a rather harmless shot and he could do little with Marco Parolo’s late goal.
After the 4-1 win in the first leg, FC Bayern won the second leg against Lazio 2-1 thanks to goals from Robert Lewandowski and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and thus made it through to the quarter-finals. The news of the day was not the game, but Flick’s revelation immediately afterwards, after which there was a clarifying conversation with Salihamidzic during the day. “We both approached each other and got rid of that. In the interests of the club,” explained Flick, without giving any details about the content.
The need for discussion, which has now obviously become inevitable, also confirms that the long-simmering conflict between Flick and Salihamidzic in terms of personnel policy and player ratings had come to a head in the past few weeks. There is even talk of loud arguments and third parties who had to intervene as mediators.
The conflict between Hansi Flick and Hasan Salihamidzic
Thanks to these ingredients, FC Bayern found itself in one of the most paradoxical situations in recent club history: While there is internal unrest and therefore in the end there may even be a risk of the premature departure of the successful coach who was bound until 2023, the team itself seems to be at rest. In any case, she mostly plays well and, above all, extremely successfully football.
In the Bundesliga, Bayern found their way back to success in mid-February after mistakes against Arminia Bielefeld and Eintracht Frankfurt, beat rivals Borussia Dortmund and now ranks four points ahead of RB Leipzig at the top of the table. And in the Champions League he is still on the hunt for records: This year’s entry into the quarter-finals is the 19th in history, and no other club has made it more often (FC Barcelona 18 times). The win against Lazio was the 19th game in a row without defeat (18 wins).
Although the team didn’t shine at it, according to Flick they played “the way I imagine it to be”. Apart from the clarity of the result and the general dominance, there were also several individual aspects that should make him happy:
Joshua Kimmich, who was one of the best of his team in the 3-1 win at Werder Bremen on Saturday, was chosen as player of the game. Although the duel with Lazio never threatened to overturn, Kimmich fought and screamed on the pitch, amazingly emotional, even for his standards. The highlight was a head-to-head conversation with a Laziali.