Defensive turnaround has to be team effort, says Bayern boss Flick

By Sports Desk January 15, 2021

Hansi Flick wants every member of his Bayern Munich team to work on turning their defensive struggles around as they prepare for a dangerous Bundesliga clash with in-form Freiburg.

Bayern saw their hopes of a second successive treble ended on Wednesday as they suffered a shock DFB-Pokal exit at the hands of 2. Bundesliga promotion challengers Holstein Kiel.

They conceded a 95th-minute equaliser to make it 2-2 at the end of normal time, with the second-tier side going on to prevail 6-5 on penalties.

Flick's side have not kept a clean sheet since the Champions League win over Lokomotiv Moscow on December 9, while the second of just two shutouts in the Bundesliga came back in the 5-0 defeat of Eintracht Frankfurt on October 24.

Bayern have faced the fifth-fewest total shots in the Bundesliga (160) but have conceded the sixth-most goals with 24, that total 12 more than the league leaders' closest challengers, RB Leipzig, who could have leapfrogged the Bavarian giants by the time Freiburg visit the Allianz Arena on Sunday.

Freiburg have won five successive league games and are second in the Bundesliga in 'big chance' conversion rate (58.33 per cent), so Bayern can ill-afford to present them with the kind of opportunities they have afforded their opponents all too often in 2020-21.

"It's going to be an intense game, Freiburg is known for that type of football. They're scoring a lot of goals," Flick said during a media conference on Friday.

"It's going to be about us and how we play in defence. It's down to us, the disappointment we had to digest pretty quickly, we have to make the best out of the situation now.

"The whole team is under pressure in defence, it's not only the back four. We're not getting enough pressure on to the ball, not as much as we used to."

Adding that Bayern's remarkable treble-winning efforts of last season were "not normal", Flick said: "I did expect us to experience a bit of a slump a little earlier but my team showed incredible mentality and we made it to the top of the table before the winter break.

"The engine isn't running smoothly, on Wednesday we experienced it in the most brutal fashion.

"We're making it too easy for the opponents to make chances, we have to be in better positions, we have to defend together.

"It's our job and it's our expectation to get back on top."

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