BERLIN, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) — A seeming atmosphere of quiet took hold of Bayern Munich’s headquarters the day after the Bavarians became the second club in history to win six titles in one season.
The team was rewarded with two days off by head coach Hansi Flick despite their upcoming national league encounter against newly-promoted Arminia Bielefeld this Monday evening.
Behind the scenes, it became apparent that Europe’s leading team is suffering from an exhausting last season. Heading for new goals this season is turning into an energy-taking challenge.
“The team has reached its limits, so has the coaching staff,” Flick commented. Qatar’s trip in the middle of the season has significantly increased the load on everyone’s shoulders, the 55-year-old added.
Medical staff had to be kept on duty after winger Serge Gnabry suffered from a muscle injury aside from the star-striker Thomas Mueller having tested positive in advance of the FIFA Club World Cup final. Midfielder Leon Goretzka and defender Javi Martinez remain in quarantine after a positive test over a week ago.
Mueller was separated from the team and traveled in a Lear-jet back home to Germany on Friday afternoon. “The bad news wasn’t easy to take for the entire team,” Flick admitted. Mueller feels tired but fairly ok, he said. “But that’s normal after a diagnosis like that. It makes your mind think about a lot of things.”
Jerome Boateng left the team during the tournament and traveled back to Munich due to his former girlfriend reportedly committing suicide. The former couple have a 6-year-old son together.
Bayern seems to pay a high toll for the success in the final of the Club World Cup against Mexican side UANL Tigres (1-0).
Some fear this season’s goals could be in danger as on February 23, the last-16-round Champions League duel against the top Italian side Lazio Rome is waiting.
If Mueller can return in time to support the team seems at least doubtful. Not to speak of Goretzka, Martinez, and Gnabry having missed several team training sessions.
“We are all somewhat exhausted but happy,” full-back Alphonso Davies told the club’s fans on social media.
Flick added the short 2-day-vacation is welcomed by “all of us.” The Bayern coach said efforts are on the way to get the entire squad back to full shape. “But we have to take it as it comes,” he said. Team and club have written history, he added.
Meanwhile, Pep Guardiola tried to help create a brighter mood around his former club.
The Citizens coach suggested that to set up a new competition, playing out a 7th title, is a good idea. “As you know, Barcelona was the only team so far to win 6 titles when I was the coach there,” he said with a wink in his eye.
In 2009 the Spanish side was the first club to win all 6 possible titles. “Maybe I should call Messi to ask him about it,” the Spaniard joked.
For Bayern, Guardiola’s idea might be an opportunity to get at the same as Al Ahly. The Egyptian side won 41 titles in football in the 21st Century, narrowly ahead of the Bavarians with 40 tags.