MUNICH, Nov 7 — Interim boss Hansi Flick said he was “happy” to steer Bayern Munich into the Champions League last 16 yesterday, despite admitting the upheaval following Niko Kovac’s sacking “had not been easy”.
Flick was only handed the role of caretaker coach when Kovac was dismissed on Sunday following a 5-1 thrashing at Eintracht Frankfurt which left Bayern fourth in the Bundesliga.
Yesterday, late goals by Robert Lewandowski and Ivan Perisic saw off Olympiakos as a 2-0 win sent Bayern into the knockout stage for the 12th straight season.
“I’m very happy with the performance, we’re into the last 16 and that’s what counts,” said Flick, Germany’s assistant coach when they won the 2014 World Cup.
“The situation hasn’t been easy and we implemented what we worked on in training.”
According to German daily Bild, former Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger is in talks with Bayern, but the club has refused to comment.
Club president Uli Hoeness said on Tuesday they expect to name Kovac’s successor by November 23, but Flick will also take charge of Saturday’s league game against Borussia Dortmund.
Flick’s situation was not helped by injuries to first-choice centre-backs Lucas Hernandez and Niklas Suele yesterday, as midfielder Javi Martinez dropped back alongside David Alaba.
“We needed this back four to get used to each other, which I think they did,” Flick said, having left out Jerome Boateng as he is suspended for the next two Bundesliga games after being sent off at Eintracht.
“My task is for the two games, I was happy that the squad showed their quality, but of course there is room for improvement.
“We’re looking forward to playing Dortmund on Saturday, it’s all about recovery and preparing for that now.”
Bayern sit one point behind second-placed Dortmund, with early pace-setters Borussia Moenchengladbach three points further clear.
“That wasn’t the greatest of performances, but whoever saw the game saw that we were there (and dominated),” said Thomas Mueller, who started ahead of Philippe Coutinho.
Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer said: “I’m glad we didn’t concede a goal. Victory is the main thing, but the confidence in our defensive work was also important.” — AFP