Bayern Munich interim coach Hansi Flick says there's good reason RB Leipzig are top of the Bundesliga. - © imago
Bayern Munich interim coach Hansi Flick says there's good reason RB Leipzig are top of the Bundesliga. - © imago

Bayern Munich's Hansi Flick: "Advantage RB Leipzig in title race"


Bayern Munich interim coach Hansi Flick believes current Bundesliga leaders RB Leipzig pose the biggest threat to his side's title defence.

Bayern played out a 1-1 draw in Leipzig early in the 2019/20 campaign, but sit four points adrift of Julian Nagelsmann's pacesetters, in third, at the halfway stage.

"Of all our rivals, Leipzig have the biggest potential and most options," Flick told Germany's leading sports specialist magazine, kicker. "RB have a good, well-balanced squad. It's important that the second- or third-choice players have the same quality.

"Leipzig have the advantage at the moment, but teams like Borussia Dortmund, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Schalke and Bayer Leverkusen musn't be underestimated."

Flick was a few months into his position as Niko Kovac's assistant when Bayern travelled to Leipzig's Red Bull Arena on 14 September 2019, before being handed the first-team coaching reins on a temporary basis following the Croatian's dismissal at the start of November.

The club recently confirmed that the 54-year-old, who has won five of his first seven Bundesliga matches in charge and steered Germany's most successful club into the UEFA Champions League last 16 with a 100 per cent record, will remain at the helm until at least the end of the season.

"We've talked about everything in detail, it's a good solution for me and for everyone else," Flick explained. "As long as we're successful, there's nothing to stop it continuing. Let's assume we're playing well and getting the right results; if not, the club have enough time to look for another coach."

Flick (l.) was initially brought to Bayern as Niko Kovac's (c.) assistant coach. - imago images / Laci Perenyi

Flick's first test of 2020 is a meeting with Jurgen Klinsmann's Hertha Berlin. Bayern, who host leaders Leipzig on 9 February, also face Bundesliga rivals Hoffenheim and English Premier League outfit Chelsea in the DFB Cup and Champions League round of 16 respectively.

Whatever happens on the trophy front in the months ahead, Flick says he cannot envisage stepping back into an assistant's role.

"I can imagine a lot of things, but right now that's not one of them," Flick explained, having served as Joachim Löw's 2014 FIFA World Cup-winning deputy for Germany before returning to Bayern - whom he represented as a player between 1985-1990 - in summer 2019.

"I'm happy to be back in the business, and I'm grateful to Bayern and Niko Kovac for giving me the chance and a way back in. It's a lot of fun, especially with the team of coaches I have around me. Then there's the work with the players. We have a really good understanding.

"Bayern are a club with a lot of power, and I'm really enjoying the job. The idea of always wanting to be successful suits me."