Berlin (AFP) – Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick insists there can be no excuses when the Champions League holders face Lazio away in Tuesday’s last 16, first leg after a recent dip in form.
“I want my team to be switched on from the start and I have total confidence they will do that at Lazio,” Flick said in Monday’s press conference.
Bayern suffered a 2-1 defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday following a 3-3 draw against strugglers Arminia Bielefeld upon their return from winning the Club World Cup in Qatar 11 days ago.
The strength in depth of Bayern’s squad has been tested since Benjamin Pavard and Thomas Mueller both tested positive for Covid-19.
Midfielder Corentin Tolisso is also sidelined by a long-term thigh injury.
Nevertheless, Flick is demanding the Bundesliga leaders respond at Rome’s Olympic Stadium.
“We all know what has happened in the last few days,” Flick added.
“I’m not looking for excuses. We weren’t good against Bielefeld and Frankfurt.
“We have to see that we’re fit again for the Champions League. These are special games which should motivate the players.”
Defender Niklas Suele is carrying a knock, so Joshua Kimmich is expected to switch from midfield to right-back.
Flick said Germany midfielder Leon Goretzka will make his first start since contracting Covid-19 in January.
Bayern have reportedly tightened their hygiene rules since Pavard became the fourth player this year to test positive for the coronavirus.
According to daily Bild, the entire squad is tested almost daily and the players have been told to stay at home, unless at training or matches.
“We have many tests, it’s part of life,” said winger Kingsley Coman, who scored the winning goal in last season’s Champions League final.
“There are many rules and regulations, but we have to meet all these precautions to be able to play.”