Philippe Coutinho (l.) has started eight of Hansi Flick's (r.) 14 competitive games as Bayern Munich interim coach. - © imago
Philippe Coutinho (l.) has started eight of Hansi Flick's (r.) 14 competitive games as Bayern Munich interim coach. - © imago
bundesliga

"Philippe Coutinho will help us a lot" - Bayern Munich interim coach Hansi Flick

Bayern Munich interim coach Hansi Flick has backed Philippe Coutinho to rediscover his best form following a run of six competitive games without a goal.

Coutinho, who is at Bayern on a season-long loan from Barcelona, returned to the starting line-up for the 4-3 win over Hoffenheim in the DFB Cup round of 16 in midweek, but was unable to add to his seven goals - the last three of which fell in the 6-1 rout of Werder Bremen on 14 December 2019.

"It's not easy," Flick told media ahead of Bayern's top-of-the-table showdown with RB Leipzig. "He's been training really well of late. It wasn't his best game against Hoffenheim, but it wasn't his worst either.

"I don't think he's 100 per cent happy with his performances right now, but he's one of ours and we have to help him. I'm sure he'll help us a lot, but we have to be patient.

"Every player experiences dips in form, and it's not easy to integrate into such a consistent team - but he's fit and I'm positive about the situation."

Watch: Philippe Coutinho scored three and made two against Bremen on Matchday 15!

One of the reasons Coutinho has been restricted to two substitute appearances in Bayern's three Bundesliga assignments of the year so far is the eye-catching form of Thomas Müller.

The 30-year-old has scored in all four of the record champions' competitive matches in 2020, and has set up a further two to take his assist tally to a joint-league-leading 12.

"Thomas Müller is one of those players whose confidence grows when he's scoring," Flick explained. "He's playing very well, so there's no reason to think about making changes.

"We're happy that he's scoring goals, and making them. He's also one of those guys who gives his teammates a tactical steer. He's simply a very important player."

Thomas Müller (c) has been one of the driving forces behind Bayern's return to the top of the Bundesliga standings. - imago

Flick also talked up his opposite number in the dugout this weekend, Julian Nagelsmann, who has turned Leipzig into genuine title contenders since making the switch from Hoffenheim in the summer.

Die Roten Bullen are winless in two league games following their shock defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt and last weekend's come-from-behind draw with Borussia Mönchengladbach, but are still Bayern's closest pursuers, and trail the defending champions by just a point ahead of Sunday's clash at the Allianz Arena.

"I really rate Julian [Nagelsmann], he has a clear philosophy and clear ideas," Flick said.

"Leipzig's position in the table shows that they're a top side. They have tremendous quality. It'll be a great game for the fans.

"For a lot of people it's a so-called title decider, but that doesn't interest me. There are still 13 games to play. A lot can still happen."