Bayern out to avoid recent errors
Bayern Munich will be alert from the start of their Champions League last 16 first-leg tie at Lazio on Tuesday to avoid the mistakes they made in their recent two Bundesliga games, coach Hansi Flick said on Monday.
Bayern have won six titles in the past nine months but have stumbled in their last two league matches with a 3-3 draw against visiting Arminia Bielefeld and a 2-1 defeat on Saturday by Eintracht Frankfurt.
Both times Bayern fell two goals behind and had to battle their way back into the game, as has so often been the case this season.
“We know what has happened in the past days,” Flick said on the two matches last week. “Against Lazio I want us to be there as a team from the start.
“We have an idea of how we want to play and we have to do that from the start.”
Flick, who is missing several key players to injury or Covid-19 infections, including Corentin Tolisso and Thomas Mueller, needs some good news after seeing a seven-point lead in the Bundesliga slashed to two in less than a week.
“I will not be using any excuses. The first half against Bielefeld and against Frankfurt were not good. But we can be satisfied with the second half,” Flick said.
“When the Champions League starts we have to be in top form. But looking at the past weeks there has been a lot of matches, a lot of strain on the team and some players missing.” Bayern won the Club World Cup earlier this month before returning from Qatar for two league games in six days and then a trip to Rome this week. “I am positive. It is a special game and I expect that the team is especially motivated,” Flick added.
Chelsea’s tough test
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel expects Tuesday’s meeting with La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid to be a massive test of his team’s mental strength, the German said on Monday. Chelsea are unbeaten in seven matches in all competitions since Tuchel was named as manager to replace club great Frank Lampard, but he said the Londoners will have to be at their best against Diego Simeone’s battling side.
“It’s a big test. They’re an experienced club at this level, (have) an experienced coach. Hopefully it brings out the best in us,” Tuchel told a news conference.
“We’ll do things our way, they’ll do things their way. It’s clear what you get when you play Atletico —fighting, experience, a team with a good mentality.”
Tuchel will be without experienced defender Thiago Silva with the Brazilian recovering from a knock but midfielder Kai Havertz and forward Christian Pulisic are in contention. Atletico were due to host the match in Madrid before it was moved to Romania’s National Arena as Spain banned arrivals from Britain.
“Yeah, it’s a disadvantage for Atletico to lose their home ground,” Tuchel added.
- Atlético vs Chelsea
- Lazio vs Bayern