Barcelona loanee Philippe Coutinho expects to become an even better player at Bayern Munich. - © 2019 DFL
Barcelona loanee Philippe Coutinho expects to become an even better player at Bayern Munich. - © 2019 DFL

Philippe Coutinho: "I can get even better at Bayern Munich"


He may have become a superstar at Liverpool and won two league titles alongside Lionel Messi at Barcelona, but Philippe Coutinho believes he can become an even better player in the company of Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Müller and Co. at Bayern Munich this season.

The 27-year-old made his first Bundesliga start in Bayern's 6-1 thrashing of Mainz on Matchday 3, a week after making his competitive debut for the club off the bench away to Schalke.

Starting in attacking midfield behind Lewandowski on Saturday and flanked by Ivan Perisic to the right and Kingsley Coman to the left, Coutinho had 49 touches, won six duels and found a teammate with 30 of 34 attempted passes before being replaced by Müller in the 67th minute.

He may not have had a direct hand in any of the goals, but the Bayern No.10's movement, grace on the ball and execution of some exquisite passes left no doubt as to his ability.

It is the capabilities of his new teammates, however, that have captured Coutinho's imagination.

"There are a lot of good players, top players and great players [here]," he told after the final whistle. "I'm really happy to be here so that I can learn from them and get better."

Watch: Philippe Coutinho reflects on his full Bundesliga debut

Words to strike fear into the hearts of defenders across Germany – and they would be right to be worried.

In 100 minutes of action so far, Coutinho has been on the ball 80 times, won 55 per cent of all challenges – despite his 5'6" frame – and completed 88 per cent of his passes, a remarkable figure for a player whose job is to play high-risk balls in the final third.

Needless to say, Bayern coach Niko Kovac was satisfied with the Brazilian's display against Mainz. "We want to build Philippe up and the opportunity presented itself here at home to put him in the starting line-up," the 47-year-old said.

"He had some good moments, especially on the ball. He played one or two really good passes in behind the defence and we created a great chance from one of them.

"We know he's not 100 per cent fit yet, so we planned to give him 60 to 70 minutes here. He'll regain his fitness by playing. I'm happy with his performance, but I know he'll improve."

Coutinho has amassed 100 minutes of Bundesliga action across two league outings so far this season for Bayern. - 2019 DFL

Coutinho will likely get more game time in the next couple of weeks as part of the Brazil national team in friendlies against Colombia and Peru, before returning to Germany for Bayern's mouthwatering Matchday 4 clash away to Julian Nagelsmann's RB Leipzig side that have won all three Bundesliga outings so far this term.