Hansi Flick feels Bayern Munich’s play has become increasingly sloppy despite the treble winners this week advancing through their Champions League group.
Bayern beat Salzburg 3-1 on Wednesday, riding out Marc Roca’s red card, to reach the last 16 with two matches to spare.
The Bundesliga giants are the top scorers in Europe’s elite club competition with 15 goals this season, but the opposite end of the pitch is occupying coach Flick’s focus.
While Bayern are yet to commit an error leading to a goal in either the Bundesliga or the Champions League this season, two mistakes in their past three matches across the two competitions have prompted opposition chances.
Flick’s side are still performing better in this regard than last season, with six errors leading to shots and one to a goal in the Bundesliga following his appointment and five attempts and one goal following mistakes over the same stretch in Europe.
But a careless trend is still concerning the Bayern boss, who has seen the team’s passing accuracy in their own half drop from 94.7 per cent in the Champions League last term to 90.9 per cent this season, leaving an unprepared defence vulnerable.
“When we have the ball, we make too many mistakes,” Flick told reporters ahead of Saturday’s Bundesliga clash with Stuttgart. “Nobody expects a bad pass, which means that you position yourself differently.
“We have to play more patiently from time to time and get more pressure on the ball. The defence, like the attack, is a team effort; everyone has to participate.
“It is clear that the concentration is not always at 100 per cent with so many.
“But we win the games. We have to make sure that we can get a grip on the few things that we don’t do well, study the analysis and give the players solutions for the Stuttgart game.”
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Niklas Sule has been a reliable performer for Bayern when on the pitch, making just one error leading to a shot in the Bundesliga since his 2017 signing.
But the Germany international has too often been absent in recent seasons, playing just eight league matches in 2019-20 after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament. He has made four appearances in the competition this term but missed another stretch after contracting coronavirus.
Sule sat out the Salzburg game but was expected back against Stuttgart as he builds fitness. His status is still uncertain, however.
“After the final training session, we will decide who goes to Stuttgart with us,” Flick said. “I’ve said everything to [Sule]. We have to work through the reasons with him as a coaching team.
“He has enormous quality and gets all the help he needs. He has to fulfil his potential and, for that, he needs the necessary fitness.
“[Benjamin] Pavard will be in the squad. [Corentin] Tolisso will be there, too; he has trained well. Everything else will be seen after the final training session.”
Bayern are a point clear of Borussia Dortmund through eight games in the Bundesliga but will see their squad tested between now and Christmas, playing every midweek until the mid-season break.
“There is no alternative [but to accept it],” said Flick. “Of course, there are a few players missing, but we still have good depth in the squad.
“Things were clearly recognised and improved [in the transfer window]; Hasan [Salihamidzic, sporting director] did very well.
“We want to win the games. For this, it is important that we accept it. Only the team that accepts the circumstances and adapts best will be successful.”
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