AOn the big evening in Lisbon, when Kimmich crossed, Coman headed and FC Bayern reached the top of European football, a man was missing. He couldn’t raise his arms when the confetti rained on the players and coaches at the Estadio da Luz, and he couldn’t snatch the Champions League trophy when the players and coaches passed it around. He couldn’t jump up when Kimmich drummed and Gnabry danced, and he couldn’t sit down either when the headlights in the stadium were no longer shining, but Hansi Flick, his boss, was crouched in the center circle. In the most beautiful moments of the present, Miroslav Klose had to work on the future in Munich.
It was in July of last year when Klose, who had been a U-17 coach at FC Bayern for two years, was promoted to assistant to head coach Hansi Flick. At that time Flick was preparing his team for the final tournament in Lisbon, which was supposed to start in August. Before that, he made a difference with his new helper: Klose, the former world-class striker, was to stay in Munich for the next few weeks to get Leroy Sané in shape for the coming season, for example.
Only Real Madrid defended the title
Flick cleaned up in Lisbon, Klose cleaned up in Munich. After that, they didn’t have much time to adjust to the new challenges with the new players – if that was even possible. The Champions League started in October and with it travel under Corona conditions. The y marched effortlessly through the preliminary round. And when the matches for the round of 16 were drawn in December, Klose said in “Kicker”, he was once again on the training ground with the substitutes when Thomas Müller called out to him: “Mirek, it’s Lazio.” once the future was very near.
When FC Bayern enters the knockout round of the Champions League with an away game against Lazio Rome this Tuesday (9 p.m. in the FAZ live ticker for the Champions League and on Sky), the past and future will come for Miroslav Klose, 42 years old together. In Rome, the striker Klose spent the last five years of his playing career with Lazio. The assistant coach Klose’s first major mission begins in Rome against Lazio. It is special because only Real Madrid has achieved it in the history of the Champions League. The mission is to defend the title.
“In view of the current personnel situation, we really have to think from game to game,” says Klose in “Kicker”. It didn’t sound like the co-coach of a team that dominated European football last year. In February 2021, Klose is also the co-coach of a team that last went into the Bundesliga against Mainz, Bielefeld and Frankfurt with a 2-0 deficit in the half-time break.
It went well against Mainz (final score: 5: 2), against Bielefeld only to a limited extent (final score: 3: 3), against Frankfurt then no longer (final score: 1: 2), even if Bayern improved a lot after the break. “We have to put pressure on against Lazio like in the second half in Frankfurt and prevent the Romans from playing out from behind with their combinations,” said Klose. “Our pressing is important here. The Italians are not used to counter pressure. ”
It helps Flick and Klose that the man who was primarily responsible for changing the counter pressure in Frankfurt will show up in Rome from the start. When Leon Goretzka came on for the first time since his Covid-19 infection, he did what Flick listed as his strengths on Monday: conquering balls, running from penalty area to penalty area, stimulating the game. And because Goretzka was “very well examined” before his first assignment after the Corona break, according to Flick, he believes that he will play a major role in Rome.
It has to be a big role, because Flick is missing several leading actors. Above all, the universal talent Thomas Müller (Covid-19), who always leads Bayern with deeds and words, but also the winger Serge Gnabry (torn muscle) and the right-back Benjamin Pavard (Covid-19). On its right side, Bayern were particularly vulnerable in Frankfurt.
The re Niklas Süle, actually a man for the middle, defended what could be seen in many situations. He was overwhelmed, but that also applies to Boauna Sarr, who was actually signed as a substitute for Pavard last fall. The re is little to suggest that Flick believes he will be able to play in the Champions League. Goretzka’s return to midfield could also have consequences for the right side of the defense. On Monday, Flick said it was entirely possible that he would use Joshua Kimmich as a right-back.
Regardless of who plays in the end, Bayern are favorites in Rome, even if Miroslav Klose qualifies: “But not clear when I look at the personnel situation.”