Bayern Munich will approach Sunday’s Bundesliga trip to Union Berlin like any other match, but Hansi Flick knows the league leaders will have the eyes of the world on them.
Germany’s top-flight will this weekend become the first major football competition to resume amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Revierderby between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke is the highlight of Saturday’s schedule, but defending champions Bayern – four points clear of BVB at the summit – will return to action in Sunday’s only late kick-off.
Speaking at a remote news conference ahead of facing 11th-placed Union, Flick backed Bayern to deal with the weight of expectation and impress.
“Not much will change except for the face masks in the dugout,” he told reporters. “We discussed with the players what they can and will expect. More than 200 countries will watch the players, so we have a huge audience to whom you can show yourself. We want to deliver a top performance.”
Flick will be granted an extra two substitutions – five in total – following an IFAB rule change, and the head coach acknowledges he does not yet know how his players will handle the return to a 90-minute match.
“It’s a good question because we don’t know if the team can do anything over 90 minutes,” he said. “We trained well and had an internal friendly with three periods of 20 minutes on Sunday. We had a very high intensity there.
“But clearly we all don’t know where we are. We have to deal with the situation and let there be no doubt.”
Bayern are without injury absentees Philippe Coutinho, Corentin Tolisso and Niklas Sule, yet Javi Martinez is the only other doubt.
“If a player had had concerns, they could have decided not to play – without consequences,” Flick said. “But we are all there except for the injured.”
He added of Barcelona loanee Coutinho: “In the last few weeks before the break, Philippe has already shown what qualities he has.
“You noticed in training that he arrived differently in the team. He is very sensitive and an excellent football player. I really enjoy working with him. We hope that he can be involved again soon.”