Robert Lewandowski’s injury is an example of “situations you have as a coach” for Hansi Flick, who vowed to face the challenge of coping without Bayern Munich’s talisman head on.
The prolific Poland striker is facing up to the prospect of a month on the sidelines after damaging knee ligaments in his country’s 3-0 win over Andorra.
It is a cruel blow for Lewandowski, who has 35 goals in the Bundesliga and looked well on course to at least match Gerd Muller’s famous record of 40 in a single campaign, set back in 1971-72.
The 32-year-old is unavailable for this weekend’s crunch clash with second-place RB Leipzig and will miss both legs of the Champions League quarter-final with Paris Saint-Germain.
For Flick, though, dealing with adversity is par for the course.
“These are situations that you have as a coach. I’m sorry for the player who got injured. I would like to have everyone with me,” he told a pre-match news conference.
“There is no question that Robert is important to us. We have players who can play in that position. It is a challenge for all of us that we are happy to face. We only know roughly when Robert will be back. It’s hard to say in detail.”
Hansi #Flick on @lewy_official ‘s absence: “These are the kind of situations you have to deal with as a coach and I have sympathy for the player. Robert is an important player for us, no doubt. We need to see how we will deal with his absence. We have players who can fill in.” pic.twitter.com/43lvtZmqf1
— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) April 2, 2021
Asked if Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting could be afforded the opportunity to play in Lewandowski’s absence, Flick replied: “Choupo is a player who shows his quality in training and in matches.
“I leave it open to me how we play. But it is definitely an option.”
The return to domestic action comes after another busy international break and precedes the Champions League quarter-finals.
Flick understands that the difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic have made such scenarios inevitable but says thought should be given on how to protect player welfare.
“At the moment there is no alternative. An association also needs its games. There is a lot that has to do with it,” he added.
“The players are under a lot of stress – last season, this season, next season won’t be any different.
“Stress management is a topic that teams need to be aware of. But also the national teams. It’s not easy because everyone has their goals. But at some point a limit of resilience is reached. One should think about it.”
Bayern travel to Leipzig on Saturday four points clear of their nearest rivals with eight games to play but Flick was reluctant to declare the fixture as decisive in the race for the title.
“I’ll worry about that when the game is over,” he added. “It’s a top-level game.”
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