Fortuna Dusseldorf 0-4 Bayern Munich: Flick's revival continues in style

By Sports Desk November 23, 2019

Bayern Munich maintained their 100 per cent record under Hansi Flick and closed the gap on Bundesliga leaders Borussia Monchengladbach to one point with a dominant 4-0 win over Fortuna Dusseldorf.

The champions had suffered a shocking 5-1 defeat in their last away game three weeks ago - a result that brought an end to Niko Kovac's tenure as head coach - but they were on the right side of a thumping victory on this occasion.

Goals from Benjamin Pavard, Corentin Tolisso and Serge Gnabry put the game beyond Dusseldorf inside 34 minutes and ensured a superb first-half performance from Bayern was suitably rewarded.

With three points secured, the Bavarians did not hit the same heights after the interval but Philippe Coutinho added a fourth goal and they have now won each of their three games under interim coach Flick, scoring 10 and conceding none.

The only surprise was Robert Lewandowski's failure to score for the first time this season in the Bundesliga, the striker having managed 16 goals in Bayern's first 11 games.

Flick's men were ahead inside 11 minutes. A short corner from Thomas Muller found Joshua Kimmich all alone and his low cross towards Pavard found its way into the net, with uncertainty over whether the full-back or Dusseldorf's Alfredo Morales had got a touch.

Both Lewandowski and Coutinho went close before a dismal error from Dusseldorf goalkeeper Zack Steffen enabled the visitors to score a second. Under little pressure, Steffen passed the ball straight to Muller and Dusseldorf's scrambling defenders were unable to recover as Gnabry's cross was converted by Tolisso.

The game was effectively ended as a contest when Gnabry scored himself, after the influential Muller had turned Pavard's low cross into his path.

After the hosts' best spell of the game, during which Rouwen Hennings spurned a great opportunity, Lewandowksi diverted an effort wide at the near post and then saw a powerful header tipped away by Steffen.

The Poland forward did claim an assist with 20 minutes remaining, though, as he beat his man on the left of the area and clipped in a cross that narrowly evaded Muller but left Coutinho with a tap-in.

 

What does it mean? Flick making strong case to keep control

Speaking during the international break, Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge confirmed Flick would remain in charge "at least until Christmas and possibly beyond". The response of the club's players to his appointment suggests there is no need to rush the search for a full-time successor to Kovac. Put simply, Bayern look like Bayern once again and Gladbach's 2-0 loss at Union Berlin means they are now right on the leaders’ heels.

Magnificent Muller on song

Having been in and out of Bayern's starting XI under Kovac this season, Muller has started all three games under Flick and was integral to this win. The experienced forward was involved in all four goals, while a glorious first-half flick to Lewandowski summed up his confident display.

Steffen shocker punished

Steffen will not want to see replays of Bayern's second goal. His sloppy pass put Dusseldorf in all sorts of trouble and the visitors were in no mood to pass up such a golden chance.

What's next?

Bayern will look to maintain their momentum under Flick when they face Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League on Tuesday. Their next league game is at home to Bayer Leverkusen next Saturday, the same day Dusseldorf travel to Hoffenheim.

Related items

  • Opinion: Like Mongrels growling over Liver - Players' Association advice unconscionable Opinion: Like Mongrels growling over Liver - Players' Association advice unconscionable

    The 20 clubs in the English Premier League, EPL are together losing about US$31 million each weekend that action in the globe’s most-watched sporting competition is suspended. That figure covers matchday related income alone. Television rights account for the bulk of EPL teams’ earnings and collectively, the suspension in play, induced by COVID 19,  is causing the teams to lose an estimated US$920 million. That’s a revenue bleed that no financial analyst would have ever seen in their career, let alone having a strategy to staunch.

    Every player in the first team squad of an EPL team is a millionaire. Every. Single. One. There are 512 players listed in the first team squads of all 20 EPL sides, an average of about 26 players for each club.

    Manchester City’s 24-man first-team squad is paid an average basic wage of US$8.73 million each, the highest average in the league. Manchester United, which has the highest overall wage bill at US$396 million, pays its 27 first teamers an average of US$7.66 million each. At the bottom of the payscale is Sheffield United, which pays each of its 22 first teamers a basic average salary of US$910,000, while just above them is Norwich City, which pays its 27 first teamers a basic average wage of US$1.2 million each.

    But enough of those big numbers for the moment. The point being made is that EPL players are among the best-remunerated individuals in the global workforce, regardless of industry. The basic wages paid to them comfortably eclipses the wage-plus-bonus-plus-benefits package taken home by some well-paid professionals in other fields. That is why so many people are disappointed at the refusal by EPL players, through their union, the Professional Footballers Association, PFA, to take a pay cut and allow their clubs to breathe in this moment.

    Indeed 92% of participants in a recent YouGov survey believe EPL players should take a pay cut in this difficult time, with another 67% saying the players should surrender at least half of their salaries. 

    People are not stupid. They know greed when they see it. And already, many on that red hot spit known as social media are roasting players for putting greed above benevolence, compassion and basic humanity.

    They ask, how can these players continue demanding their hefty paycheques when many people who work in the unglamorous roles in professional football face the stark reality of being laid off by their struggling employers?

    Indeed, the man leading the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), Gordon Taylor has given life to the term irony by his staunch defence of the players’ rights to not have a dollar docked from their salaries. Taylor himself is a man who lives high on the hog. Afterall he can afford to.

    In 2017, the now 75-year-old was paid a salary of US$2.7 million. No wonder that in this situation he guards his players’ interests like a mongrel, growling as he protects a piece of liver from a pesky fowl in his master’s yard. 

    As Premier League officials meet with club executives and the PFA to reach a common position on wages, the Tottenham Hotspur chairman, Daniel Levy has made a clever move in what appears to be a chess match with his own players.

    Levy announced that 550 non-playing staff had agreed to a 20% cut in their wages. He says the move allows the club to keep them all in employment during this period. Levy is among the 550. This move is no doubt intended to guilt trip Jose Mourinho and the 25 members of his first-team squad to do what the cleaning lady, kit man, groundsman, tea lady, club steward and janitor at Spurs have all done.

    Levy never does anything without calculating the ramifications down to the last decimal point.

    In announcing the pay cut, he exhorted players to do their bit to protect jobs. In other words, if Spurs’ players refuse to give up some of their wages, then the tears of any janitor, cleaner or groundsman who gets sent home for good in this period, will be on the players’ expensively clothed shoulders.

    Haters need no invitation to criticise footballers for what they earn and how they live. But this situation is different.

    Habitual haters apart, well-thinking folks are also disgusted that almost a month after COVID 19 was declared a pandemic by the WHO, the richest among us are having to be cajoled into giving up some of their earnings to allow businesses to establish a form of balance in this period of disequilibrium.

    Per capita, the EPL is the richest sporting competition in the world by revenue. So why are its millionaires having to be begged to give up only a little to stabilize the business of the same employers who facilitate their massive earnings? If a janitor can give up 20% in pay, why can’t a man, who’s earning up to 200 times more per month, not do the same? This is unconscionable.

    Selah.

  • Coronavirus: Club Brugge to be champions as Belgium's Pro League recommends cancellation Coronavirus: Club Brugge to be champions as Belgium's Pro League recommends cancellation

    Belgium's Pro League has recommended calling an end to its 2019-20 season and accepting current positions as the final standings.

    In what would be an unprecedented move in response to the coronavirus pandemic, current leaders Club Brugge stand to be named as champions.

    A working group will now assess the potential sporting and financial implications of the board of directors' decision, with a general assembly to convene on April 15 and discuss the findings.

    The Belgian top-flight has one regular-season round of fixtures remaining, which would normally precede a play-off competition to determine the winners and qualifiers for the Champions League and Europa League.

    Brugge, who finished second in 2018-19, are 15 points clear and look set to benefit from Thursday's directive, while Waasland-Beveren – two points from safety at the foot of the table – are facing relegation.

    A league statement read: "The Pro League board of directors met today by conference call. The most important item on the agenda was obviously the issue of continued competition in the context of the coronavirus crisis.

    "The current situation, particularly precarious, in which our country finds itself has as a consequence that sport is not and cannot be considered as the first concern, however entertaining and relaxing it may be.

    "In this context, it is the responsibility of the Board of Directors to make a recommendation, taking into account public health, the interests of all stakeholders and the wishes of the majority of clubs. to not resume competition."

    It remains to be seen whether the final of the Belgian Cup, originally due to take place on March 22 between Brugge and Antwerp, will still go ahead later in the year.

    Football and sport in general has been put on hold in the vast majority of countries around the world as governments attempt to combat the spread of COVID-19.

    Euro 2020 has been pushed back to 2021, as have the Olympics, with UEFA also postponing this year's Champions League and Europa League indefinitely. 

    The top leagues in Europe are still on hiatus, with finishing the season still a priority, although UEFA chairman Aleksander Ceferin has acknowledged it may prove impossible to do so.

  • Coronavirus: Atletico Madrid cut player wages by 70 per cent Coronavirus: Atletico Madrid cut player wages by 70 per cent

    Atletico Madrid players will accept a 70 per cent pay cut during the coronavirus crisis to protect the salaries of 430 non-playing staff, the LaLiga club have confirmed.

    Atleti's measures mirror those taken by Barcelona and Real Madrid in response to the State of Emergency declared in Spain, where the death toll attributed to COVID-19 has surpassed 10,000.

    A club statement on Thursday confirmed they would present a Temporary Employment Regulation File (ERTE) to enshrine a 70 per cent decrease in wages for players with Atletico Madrid B and Atletico Madrid Women, along with Diego Simeone's squad.

    Additionally, all first-team players have signed an internal agreement that maps out two different scenarios depending on how the 2019-20 season concludes.

    The statement read: "The filing will mean a 70 per cent reduction in the salaries of technicians and players of the men's first team, the women's first team and Atletico de Madrid B, while the declaration of the State of Emergency lasts.

    "From the outset, the club's objective in studying possible measures to deal with this delicate situation has been to minimise its effect on the salaries of its employees as much as possible. 

    "The agreement reached with the first team will also allow [for] supplementing the salary of 430 employees affected by the ERTE, a complement from which only players and coaches from professional teams are excluded. 

    "To make this possible, the first squad will contribute half the necessary amount and the members of the club's management committee, made up of the chief executive and the directors of the different areas, the other half. "

    Atletico lie sixth in the standings of a suspended LaLiga, while their final outing before football's continent-wide shutdown was a thrilling 3-2 extra-time victory over Liverpool at Anfield – sealing a place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League with a 4-2 aggregate triumph.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.