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."

Bayern Munich's shock DFB-Pokal loss to Holstein Kiel left Hansi Flick "very disappointed" but the head coach insisted the German and European champions must move on.

DFB-Pokal holders Bayern sensationally crashed out in the second round on Wednesday, stunned 6-5 on penalties following a 2-2 draw against second-tier Kiel after extra time.

A 95th-minute equaliser thwarted Bayern, who were on the brink of the last 16 thanks to Leroy Sane's sublime free-kick at Holstein-Stadion, where Serge Gnabry's opener had been cancelled out by Fin Bartels.

After Bayern substitute Marc Roca was denied by Ioannis Gelios, Bartels stepped up to complete the remarkable upset – the Bundesliga and Champions League holders beaten in a penalty shoot-out against a lower-tier side in the DFB-Pokal for only the second time after 2000.

"It's a shock of course. We're very disappointed, we wanted to defend the treble. Taken altogether it was down to details, the team showed great spirit," Flick said.

"We were dominant, which was our aim. It's very annoying that we conceded the equaliser in the last second. We must congratulate Kiel, they made it a real cup fight, they were completely committed. We must put it behind us and improve.

"We must be more compact at the back. We must apply more pressure and be more solid when it comes to balls over the top.

"It's surprising, that's what the cup is like. Kiel defended well, their keeper turned in an outstanding performance. It just happens in penalty shoot-outs, I don't blame Roca."

For the first time in more than 12 years, Bayern were forced into extra time against a lower-tier team in the DFB-Pokal after Kiel captain Hauke Wahl struck at the death.

Bayern star Thomas Muller added: "At the end of the day we lost against the underdogs from Kiel. It may sound silly after such a defeat but lady luck wasn't really on our side today.

"We had a pretty good feeling in the first half and played decently. We had good chances, we combined well, we enjoyed more of the ball. Kiel gave it their all. It was certainly a good performance from their point of view.

"It wasn't an upset that was looming from the off. We made mistakes when it came to the details and Kiel were pretty clinical, as they were in the shoot-out."

Hansi Flick says Bayern Munich must be wary of a Holstein Kiel side with "nothing to lose" when they meet in the second round of the DFB-Pokal on Wednesday.

Holders Bayern will travel to Holstein-Stadion smarting from squandering a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 against Borussia Monchengladbach in the Bundesliga last Friday.

Kiel are third in 2. Bundesliga and will be eyeing a shock when they take on the European champions for the first time.

Bayern head coach Flick, who is set to welcome the fit-again Serge Gnabry back into his squad, warned the Bavarian giants will be in for a battle against the second-tier side.

He said in a press conference on Tuesday: "Holstein Kiel have got nothing to lose.

"I follow them closely, I know Uwe Stover very well and I've known him for a long time, so naturally I follow their progress more closely.

"Their team has strengthened a lot - they have a clear plan and they like to attack."

Flick added: "We will be taking this task seriously. We are expected to win this game, but it's not always possible to meet these expectations."

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting misses out with a back injury, while Kingsley Coman will not be risked as Flick revealed the winger is "feeling some discomfort in his muscles." 

Flick will not make a decision on who will make the trip to Kiel until the day of the game.

"We will train as normal on Wednesday ahead of the game, then we will decide who is to travel to Kiel with us," he said.

"There are a lot of games at the moment and we're spending a lot of time in hotels, which is why we're not traveling until matchday."

Bayern Munich fell victim to a "brutally effective" Borussia Monchengladbach in their humbling 3-2 defeat on Friday, according to Hansi Flick.

Robert Lewandowski's penalty – his 20th Bundesliga goal of the season – and a fine strike from Leon Goretzka put Bayern in control of the Bundesliga clash at Borussia-Park inside 26 minutes.

However, a wayward pass from Benjamin Pavard led to a quick break that finished with Jonas Hofmann scoring, and the Gladbach midfielder was played onside by Niklas Sule as he doubled his tally before half-time after Joshua Kimmich was caught in possession by Lars Stindl.

Sule then gave the ball to Hofmann inside his own half four minutes after the restart and Florian Neuhaus subsequently atoned for conceding the first-half spot-kick with a bizarre handball by netting the winner.

Gladbach consequently became the first team since Cologne in February 2011 to beat Bayern in a Bundesliga game after falling 2-0 down.

"We had hoped for a different ending to this game and expected it, but in the end we were punished. We lost the ball unnecessarily three times and the opposition was brutally effective in finishing those chances," Flick told a post-match news conference.

"When you ask me how to prevent that, on the one hand you have to keep the mistakes to a minimum, or avoid them, and on the other hand you have to cover your deep positions twice.

"We suffered similar situations on their first two goals. Hofmann went deep from midfield and we moved forward too quickly and opened the centre without covering the deep position, and with the second we should have kept going and covering the positions.

"That shouldn't happen and it's not a nice situation to be in, but a defeat, even if it's Bayern Munich, is part of the game. In the second half the team tried everything to achieve a positive result but unfortunately it didn't work."

Manuel Neuer has now conceded in 10 straight Bundesliga games for the first time in his career, with Bayern letting in 16 goals since their last clean sheet against Eintracht Frankfurt on October 24.

Bayern have conceded 24 goals through 15 matches in the top flight this season, the most they have shipped at this point of a Bundesliga campaign since 1981-82.

Flick added: "I've said it a few times, we are making too many mistakes. You can't deny that the team tried to win.

"We had to fight today, we knew it would be a difficult game. Don't forget [Gladbach] is a team that played in the Champions League against top opposition and prevailed, so we needed this compact team performance and we showed – with the exception of these three situations.

"But of course, we're not satisfied with the result. We all know we need to show even more concentration in our defensive work in the crucial moments. We have to cover the deep positions and that's the challenge we have, and we have to improve in the coming weeks."

Bayern are back in action against 2. Bundesliga side Holstein Kiel in the DFB-Pokal on Wednesday.

Hansi Flick has told his Bayern Munich stars to show "a different attitude from the start" as he bids to achieve a feat only Pep Guardiola has achieved before.

On Friday evening, Flick can reach 100 points from his first 39 Bundesliga games in charge of the Bavarian giants, needing a win at Borussia Monchengladbach to hit that landmark.

But head coach Flick is unwilling to tolerate any repeat of the shaky first-half performance that saw his team trail Mainz 2-0 on Sunday, before turning the game around to register a 5-2 win.

Guardiola, who joined Bayern ahead of the 2013-14 season, brought up his century of points in the same number of games.

That saw Guardiola lead Bayern to a championship with 90 points before beginning the following season with three wins and two draws.

The Manchester City boss amassed 101 points from his first 39 Bundesliga matches, the first Bayern head coach to achieve a three-figure points haul so quickly.

Flick knows if he is to add an immediate three points to his current 97 points, the European champions will need to pull their weight.

"We have addressed it very clearly and want to go into the game with a different attitude and dynamic," Flick said on Thursday in a pre-match news conference.

"We want to be more present in the duels. We can't just hope for Manu [goalkeeper Manuel Neuer] at the back.

"We need a different attitude from the start. We have to show what we are capable of. The team have this mentality. Gladbach have high individual quality and great tempo."

Flick's side have scored 119 goals in their 38 league games during his tenure, winning 31 times, drawing four and losing only three times.

But there is no certainty they will get the better of Gladbach, having lost to the Foals in the first half of the season in each of the last three campaigns before winning the reverse game.

Indeed, Bayern have only won 13 of 52 previous away games against Friday's opponents, losing 21 times and drawing on 18 occasions.

Flick's recent record in Friday night games bodes well for Bayern.

They began this season with an 8-0 thrashing of Schalke on a Friday, and their previous Friday game was the 8-2 humbling of Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Bayern have won 16 of their last 20 Friday games in all competitions (D3 L1), Opta said.

Hansi Flick has ruled out Bayern Munich making any major signings in the January transfer window.

The head coach said on Thursday there was a chance of "one or two" players leaving the European champions.

But in terms of arrivals, Flick said it was important he did not press the club to bring in new faces during a "very difficult" period.

Like all clubs, Bayern's finances have taken a hit, largely because of the absence of supporters from stadiums during the COVID-19 crisis.

"Let me be very clear about this: the current situation affects all clubs in the world," Flick said.

"It's not an easy situation with corona. I'd like to be clear: I don't want to demand new players. I know the situation at Bayern Munich; I know it's very difficult at the moment.

"The squad we have here at our disposal is the squad we'll have until the end of the season.

"I'm not sure if one or two might still transfer. There are certain things that have been talked about, but currently we have very good quality in our squad and I don't think our goals are in jeopardy."

Speaking ahead of Friday's Bundesliga trip to face Borussia Monchengladbach, Flick claimed leaders Bayern "still have room for improvement".

"The team knows it and every single player knows it," Flick said.

Scoring 44 goals in 14 league games has pleased Flick but shipping 21 at this early stage of the campaign is a concern.

"We have to work on that," he said. "It's not about the defence in particular. It's conceding no goals, keeping clean sheets, defending.

"In order to do that you have to have a compact defence and order and organisation with which you pressure the opponent and that's what we have to improve on."

Flick was asked whether Joshua Zirkzee may be on the move, with the 19-year-old on the fringes of the Bayern squad.

He responded: "At the moment I am not aware of any departures, but everything can always go quickly.

"Zirkzee has tremendous qualities and can develop well. He was out of training for a few weeks. He will get games, also with the under-23s. He can take a lot from the professionals, but then he has to show what he can do with the under-23s and put himself at the service of the team. He is good in front of goal, has strong technique and good dynamics."

Bayern have a doubt over Serge Gnabry for the Gladbach game after he was substituted with a knock in the 5-2 win over Mainz on Sunday, Flick saying the forward is "still in pain".

Hansi Flick admitted he was "a little disappointed" to miss out on The Best FIFA Men's Coach award after Bayern Munich's stunning run of trophy success.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp edged out Flick to take the award on Thursday, after leading the Reds to a first English league title in 30 years.

Flick, who took over in mid-season last term when Niko Kovac left a flagging Bayern, guided the German giants to a treble consisting of Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League titles.

Bayern's achievements were reflected in Bayern's Robert Lewandowski winning the top player award and Manuel Neuer being named best goalkeeper in the world.

Flick would have been proud to join them as a winner but said: "We always take this like sportsmen. 'Kloppo' for sure deserved this title as well with his staff. The same as my staff would have deserved it."

Klopp admitted he had been surprised to pip his fellow German to the award, albeit grateful to secure another award, while Lewandowski said Bayern's players regarded Flick as the pick of the nominees.

Flick said: "Life goes on. Of course, we were a little disappointed last night, which is normal.

"If you get among the top three, you also want to win. We live in a society of performance, so we also would have liked to win.

"But everything goes on, we have new goals to attain. Now, this is closed. The team has attained exceptional results. With Manu [Neuer] and Robert, we have two of the best players.

"Robert as best footballer and Manu as best goalkeeper, and Joshua Kimmich, Alphonso Davies in the world XI ... Thiago [Alcantara] as well, although he is with Liverpool now unfortunately.

"So we can say that this has been an exceptional season for us." 

Hansi Flick's only chance to collect The Best FIFA Men's Coach award in future is if Bayern Munich find new competitions to win, Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho suggested.

Last season, Flick led Bayern to a Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League treble, while they have also lifted the UEFA Super Cup and DFL Super Cup in 2020.

So, a few eyebrows were raised when Flick was overlooked for best men's coach at FIFA's annual awards ceremony on Thursday, with Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp retaining the prize.

Klopp led Liverpool to a first English top-flight title in 30 years last term, but when addressing the media on Friday admitted his own surprise by saying: "I'm grateful for it, obviously. From the first moment, like everybody else, I was looking at it a bit wide-eyed, like, how did that happen?"

Mourinho, whose Tottenham side were beaten by Liverpool 2-1 on Wednesday, was asked about the decision when previewing Spurs' clash with Leicester City.

"I think the only chance for Flick to win is that Bayern find two or three more new competitions to win it," Mourinho said with a laugh.

"So maybe if he wins seven titles in one season maybe he wins the award, because I believe he only won the Champions League, Bundesliga, Pokal, European Super Cup, German Super Cup - he only won five and the biggest one of all.

"So I think poor Flick the only chance is for Bayern to try and find two or three more trophies to see if he can win it."

Spurs' defeat to Liverpool saw Mourinho's side surrender top spot in the Premier League to the Reds, who they now trail by three points.

Many pundits have noted Tottenham's propensity to sit deep and play on the counter-attack this season, particularly in bigger matches.

Against Liverpool, Spurs had just 24.2 per cent possession, had 254 passes to Liverpool's 813 and had a pass accuracy of just 61.4 per cent.

The numbers were not dissimilar when Spurs triumphed 2-0 against Arsenal in the north London derby on December 6. On that occasion they had 30.2 per cent possession, 288 passes and 67.4 per cent passing accuracy.

Indeed, Spurs' average of 48.01 per cent possession is only 12th in the league this season, while they rank in the same spot for passing accuracy (80.39).

Mourinho, though, is mainly interested in one statistic, which is how many goals a team scores.

"You love the words possession and you love the stats," he told reporters.

"What tells me [about a team] is the number of goals you score and the number of chances that you create, so you can have less time with the ball but score more goals than your opponents, create better chances but for some reason not score in relation to this.

"This for me is the fundamental thing. In relation to the way we try to play, sometimes it's our decision, our game plan, other times it's our opponent that creates us this situation. 

"For example against Crystal Palace [a 1-1 draw] in the first 20 or 25 minutes of the second half it's not we tried to play that way, in fact we did exactly the opposite of what was the game plan. 

"Sometimes the game goes in a direction where the responsibility is the opponent, and in these situations I'm always supportive of my players when the opponent in some moments is just better than you and forces you to play in a way you don't want to do it."

Hansi Flick has been impressed by Bayer Leverkusen so far this season but remains confident Bayern Munich can come out on top in the battle of the Bundesliga's top two on Saturday. 

Leverkusen hold top spot in the table heading into the game at their BayArena home, the final outing for both clubs before the mid-season break in Germany. 

Peter Bosz's side are unbeaten after the opening 12 league games this season, the first time that has happened for them since the 2009-10 campaign. However, Bayern have won three of their last four games in Leverkusen, including a 4-2 triumph there in June. 

On the eve of the much-anticipated clash, Flick outlined the challenges his team will face on the road, though also made clear the size of the task facing Leverkusen - particularly if everyone for Bayern is at "100 per cent" for their final outing in a hugely successful 2020. 

"This is a strong team. Leverkusen has had a very, very good run," Flick told the media on Friday.  

"They have confidence and are in a good mood. The idea they have is a good one: they play for possession and are able to put their stamp on the game.  

"We need to be good defensively and make sure not to lose the ball. If everyone is 100 per cent there, it will be difficult for Leverkusen to beat us."

Kingsley Coman has certainly been at his peak so far in the campaign, providing a competition-high seven assists in the Bundesliga – already a new personal best for the Frenchman. 

The winger has had a hand in at least one goal in each of his previous five Bundesliga games for the first time, leading Flick to praise the player for his recent run of form. 

The Bayern boss hopes Douglas Costa, Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sane can raise their standards too, making clear the trio all have "room for improvement". 

Sane's form has come under close scrutiny in particular, the big-money signing from Manchester City having started only five league games so far, though he has contributed three goals and the same number of assists. 

Gnabry has found the net four times but is yet to set up a team-mate in 775 league minutes, while Costa has produced one goal and a solitary assist having seen less action than the other trio. 

"Kingsley Coman is currently the benchmark for everyone when it comes to scoring contributions," said Flick. 

"The other three - Costa, Gnabry and Sane - still have room for improvement. We hope that they will be close to 100 per cent tomorrow. That would help us a lot." 

Flick revealed Bayern will not rush back Joshua Kimmich from a knee injury suffered in early November, while Leon Goretzka will be assessed after training to see if he can feature against Leverkusen.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp expressed his shock at beating Bayern Munich counterpart Hansi Flick to The Best FIFA Men's Coach award.

Flick was considered the favourite for the gong ahead of Thursday's ceremony after guiding Bayern to a Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League treble last term.

But Klopp, who oversaw the Reds' Premier League title success in 2019-20, ending a 30-year wait for a top-flight championship, beat his compatriot to take the prize for a second successive year. Leeds United's Marcelo Bielsa came third.

The Liverpool boss accepted he was probably fortunate to see off competition from Flick.

"I'm grateful for it, obviously," he told reporters on Friday. "From the first moment, like everybody else, I was looking at it a bit wide-eyed, like, how did that happen?

"I didn't expect it, not at all, I thought Hansi Flick won pretty much everything in the last year and that that would be the case.

"I wanted to be there, to show respect, because last year in Milan when it was a really nice event – Mauricio Pochettino was there as well – and I thought that night that, if I would be nominated again, I would show up even if I have no chance to win it.

"Now with four different categories, more managers and players voted for me. The media and fans, more for Hansi Flick which I get completely – in the end it's not my choice.

"I'm happy for it, it's a special thing for my coaches and me, I saw them already, they are buzzing. If you would have asked me, 'are you the world's best coach?' I would have said no.

"If you would ask me, 'do you have the world's best coaches around you?' I would have said yes.

"We'll take an award like this, it's all good, there's more important things in the world but it's a nice one."

Earlier on Thursday, the Premier League announced clubs had voted to not increase the number of substitutions allowed per team in each game from three to five, despite the sport's lawmakers the International Football Association Board (IFAB) previously agreeing an extension to the rule.

Klopp had been arguably the most vocal manager in favour of increasing substitution allowance and he pointed the finger at the 10 clubs who opted against backing what he felt was an essential change for player welfare.

The Premier League did take up the option of increasing the numbers of substitutes available in a squad to nine from seven, though Klopp dismissed the importance of such a move.

"I think it's two different decisions, not a compromise," he added. "Come on, I don't want to create headlines, everybody knows my opinion about the case – you have to ask other people.

"There are 10 clubs that voted against it, everybody knows the 10 clubs. It was not about the competition, not about advantages, it was only about player welfare. They voted against it.

"Pretty much only them in Europe – maybe the world – voted against it.

"I don't know the percentage of leagues who have now five subs, I don't know exactly, but there must be a good reason for it.

"In all these leagues there is competition, every club wants to win the league, every club wants to stay in the league, but here is the only league that doesn't have it – the Championship decided differently. It's not for me to give an answer, you'll have to ask the other [teams]."

In a year that no one could have predicted, the enduring brilliance of Robert Lewandowski has been almost comforting.

While social distancing, wearing masks and limitations to our lives have become the norm, seeing some things remain the same has helped to lift the tension.

Lewandowski has been one such example of continued excellence and on Thursday the Bayern Munich striker goes up against Barcelona great Lionel Messi and Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo in the battle to be crowned The Best FIFA Men's Player for 2020.

Despite the quality of his rivals, Lewandowski really should be considered the worthy winner of the award – particularly given the absence of the prestigious Ballon d'Or being awarded this year denied him the opportunity to scoop that prize. 

Across the period between July 20, 2019 to October 7, 2020 that the award is judged on, no player has been as consistently world class as the Poland international.

Lewandowski scored 60 goals for Bayern Munich in just 52 appearances between those dates – 20 more than any other player to play in the 'top five' European leagues. 

His goalscoring consistency cannot be questioned, with a frightening average of a goal every 76 minutes at club level across the 15 months considered by FIFA for this award – an average better than any player to have scored 30-plus goals in this timespan.

 

Looking at all three finalists between the judged months of July 2019 and October 2020, Lewandowski is the clear standout.

The Pole has the best goal tally (64), shot conversion rate (25 per cent) and minutes per goal ratio (79) across club and country appearances and has outperformed his xG total by six goals. 

But not only has he been the most clinical finisher in front of goal, he has done so with exceptional frequency.

 

Lewandowski ended 2019-20 with 55 club goals at Bayern, the best tally by a player within the 'top five' European leagues since Luis Suarez's tally of 59 goals for Barcelona in 2015-16. 

Thirty-four of those goals last season were scored in the Bundesliga, where he became the joint-fourth highest goalscorer within a single campaign in the competition, behind only Gerd Muller's efforts in 1969-70, 1971-72 and 1972-73. 

It was the most goals scored by a player in a single Bundesliga season since Dieter Muller's tally of 34 in 1976-77 for Cologne.

 

Altogether, Lewandowski has now won five Kicker Torjagerkanone awards for finishing as top goalscorer in a Bundesliga season. 

The only player to have won more is Gerd Muller (seven), and although Bayern's current star will not be able to reach the legendary Muller's tally with another win this season, he is on course to become the first player to ever win it in four successive Bundesliga campaigns.

The 32-year-old is regarded as the best number nine in world football right now, with the 2019-20 campaign his best yet. 

 

Lewandowski netted 34 goals last term at a shot conversion rate of 24.6 per cent.

Worryingly for Bayern's opponents, the Polish striker looks like breaking those records again this season – his current minutes per goals ratio and shot conversion ratio far exceeds what we have seen from him so far in his career.

Looking at 2019-20 data, specifically non-penalty xG and non-penalty goal tallies of every player to play 1000 minutes or more within the 'top five' European leagues, it is clear to see how elite Lewandowski is.

 

Lewandowski scored at a rate of 0.94 goals per 90 minutes last season in the Bundesliga, a rate that only Erling Haaland (1.1) and Kylian Mbappe (1.07) bettered – however, both youngsters played much less frequently.

It was not only in the Bundesliga that Lewandowski impressed last season, as the striker also led the scoring charts in the Champions League.

With 15 goals in 10 appearances for the winners of the competition, his tally has only been bettered by one player and in two seasons in the Champions League – FIFA awards rival Ronaldo in 2013-14 (17 goals) and 2015-16 (16 goals).

 

Before blanking in the final, Lewandowski had scored in nine consecutive Champions League matches. Only Ronaldo has scored in more successive appearances in the history of the European Cup/Champions League, with 11 in a row between June 2017 and April 2018.

Along with his top scorer awards in the Bundesliga and Champions League during 2019-20, the Bayern striker replicated his club's treble-winning campaign in finishing as the top goalscorer in last season's DFB-Pokal with six goals – he is the only player in history to achieve this specific feat.

Back in October, Lewandowski won his first ever UEFA Men's Player of the Year award at a canter. With four of the previous winners of the FIFA award having won the UEFA award in the same year, it should be a forgone conclusion that the Bayern striker picks up the accolade on Thursday.

Robert Lewandowski "truly deserves" to be recognised as the world's best player according to Bayern Munich head coach Hansi Flick.

Lewandowski has been nominated for The Best FIFA Men's Player award, which will be awarded in Zurich on Thursday, alongside Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi and Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo.

The 32-year-old Lewandowski scored twice to earn Bayern a 2-1 come-from-behind win against Wolfsburg on Wednesday to keep the German champions one point behind Bundesliga leaders Bayer Leverkusen after 12 rounds. 

Lewandowski also celebrated his 250th Bundesliga goal – from just 332 games – the Poland international becoming only the third player in league history to reach the milestone after Gerd Muller (365) and Klaus Fischer (268), though he is the first non-German to achieve the feat.

After 11 league games this season, Lewandowski has 15 goals, following a campaign where the star striker fired Bayern to Champions League glory, in addition to a domestic treble of the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and DFL-Supercup.

Bayern team-mate Manuel Neuer – who celebrated his 200th league win for the club from 261 appearances, beating Thomas Muller's record – has been nominated for The Best FIFA Men's Goalkeeper award alongside Liverpool's Alisson and Jan Oblak of Atletico Madrid, and Flick is adamant that both of his players have earned the right to claim the prizes.

"Lewy is on one side very important on the pitch, but also he is in the inner circle of the squad," Flick said post-match.

"[He] is of course a very important player who's point of view truly counts. 

"Therefore, we are all looking ahead. So that Manuel as well as Lewy will win their awards. Both players truly deserve it."

Flick also joined the company of Leeds United coach Marcelo Bielsa and Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp in being nominated for The Best FIFA Men's Coach award.

The 55-year-old admitted that his players had to dig deep to recover from a fifth-minute set-back against Wolfsburg, as Maximilian Philipp volleyed the visitors ahead against the run of play at the Allianz Arena.

Lewandowski headed in Kingsley Coman's delivery on the stroke of half-time to level the scores, before collecting Jerome Boateng's pass to lash in his second and complete the turnaround five minutes after the restart.

Bayern – who have won 12 points from losing positions this season, the most in the Bundesliga this term – travel to Leverkusen on Saturday in a battle to clinch top spot heading into the mid-season winter break and Flick praised his team's fighting spirit ahead of such a crunch clash.

"We won. We won and that is the most important part," Flick added. "We fought ourselves back after conceding a goal. 

"We fought back heavily and set the equaliser before the half-time which was very important and gave a signal to the team.

"Then we scored at the start of the second half the second goal, where we were playing very well. We tried to stand up against the loss. You can notice, that we really wanted this win against Wolfsburg.

"I told the team, that sometimes you have to fight back properly in order to get back into a winning streak. Coming back to Leverkusen, we want to end this very successful year on a high note. If possible, with three points."

Robert Lewandowski was happy to see Bayern Munich show their gritty side ahead of a Bundesliga showdown with leaders Bayer Leverkusen.

The Polish striker scored both goals in a hard-fought 2-1 win home over Wolfsburg on Wednesday which kept Bayern a point behind Leverkusen in second place.

Lewandowski's brace saw him become only the third player in Bundesliga history to pass 250 goals after Gerd Muller (365) and Klaus Fischer (268), though he is the first non-German to achieve the feat.

Hansi Flick's side face Leverkusen on Saturday in a top-of-the-table clash which will decide which team lead the standings for the subsequent mid-season break.

"I'm happy that I scored twice today and that we got three points," Lewandowski told reporters.

"We didn't play the perfect football in the first half, but we had a little more consistency in the second half. Wolfsburg played very well.

"The recent period has not been easy, but we now have one more game and then a short break."

Maximilian Philipp put the visitors ahead at the Allianz Arena with a clinical finish after a mistake by Leroy Sane.

It meant Bayern have trailed in six consecutive Bundesliga games for the first time since 2008-09 under Jurgen Klinsmann - although they have avoided defeat on each occasion - and Lewandowski urged his team-mates to be sharp from the kick-off against Leverkusen.

"We have to push in the last game, no matter how good Leverkusen is at the moment," he added.

"We have to show our game and try everything to win the last game. We have to be awake from the start and not just when we concede the first goal."

Wolfsburg have now won none of their 24 Bundesliga away games at Bayern (drawn two, lost 22). In the history of the competition, no side has ever played as often at one opponent without tasting victory.

And Bayern head coach Flick dedicated his side's latest victory over Wolfsburg to his mother, Traudel, as he praised the approach shown by his players.

"I promised my mother, whose birthday is today, three points. So I am satisfied," Flick told a media conference afterwards.

"We want to finish a great and very successful 2020 in Leverkusen with three more points if possible

"The mentality has to be right and that was the case against Wolfsburg, so we deserved the win.

"We played against a team that was of very good quality. For the neutral viewer it was a lively game. After falling behind, we fought our way back well.

"The equaliser before the break was an important one. You could tell that we really wanted to win against Wolfsburg."

Joshua Kimmich needs to listen to his body and decide whether he is physically and psychologically ready to return to action, according to Bayern Munich head coach Hansi Flick.

The 25-year-old has not featured for Bayern since November 7 when he suffered a right lateral meniscus injury against Borussia Dortmund.

He was not expected to play again until late January at the earliest after undergoing surgery but returned to light training earlier this month and was involved in a full session on Monday.

With Leon Goretzka joining Javi Martinez on the sidelines, Kimmich could return to action ahead of schedule in Wednesday's Bundesliga clash with Wolfsburg.

Flick will let the versatile midfielder have the final say on his selection as Bayern look to extend their 13-match unbeaten run against visitors Wolfsburg in all competitions.

"Joshua needs to listen to his body and see how his knee copes with the strain," Flick said at Tuesday's pre-match news conference.

"Playing after an injury like that is just as much a psychological thing, though. He needs to weigh it all up and then we can decide together whether he can play."

Bayern have won five and lost one of the six league games Kimmich has started this term - an 83 per cent win rate, which falls to 40 per cent in the five games he has missed (two wins and three draws).

He has a goal and four assists in those six league games, creating 12 chances in all, and has completed an average of 40.8 passes in the opposition half per 90 minutes - second only to Borussia Dortmund's Raphael Guerreiro (48.95).

Asked if Kimmich would replace Goretzka, Flick said: "There are several possibilities and you are welcome to puzzle over them."

Bayern's recent wobble continued at the weekend as they dropped points in the league for the third time in four matches in a 1-1 draw with Union Berlin.

Robert Lewandowski scored at the Stadion An der Alten Forsterei to take his tally for the season to 13 goals in 10 Bundesliga appearances.

He is the favourite to be crowned The Best FIFA Men's Player for 2020 later this week and Flick has once again thrown his support behind the prolific Poland international.

"It would be nice if he could add a goal or two tomorrow," Flick said. "Obviously, being elected world footballer on Thursday is his big dream.

"There is no one who has deserved it this season as much as Robert.

"The whole team, the club and the fans keep their fingers crossed for him that this will come true, and we'll all be happy if he wins the vote."

Hansi Flick feels Bayern Munich paid for the price for being too conservative in the first half of their 1-1 draw against Union Berlin and acknowledged his side "can definitely play better".

The Bundesliga champions trailed after just four minutes of Saturday's contest at Alte Forsterei as Grischa Promel headed the underdogs into a shock lead.

Robert Lewandowski's 16th goal in as many games this season levelled proceedings just after the hour but Bayern were unable to find a winner in an entertaining clash.

"The first few minutes we were not present on the pitch as we had wanted to be. We could have defended better when we conceded the goal, without question," head coach Flick said in quotes reported by Bayern's official website.

"When the first ball becomes dangerous, our composure is not there. We played the safe pass or a long ball. I wasn't too happy with that. We addressed that during the break.

"We wanted to play with more composure and occupy space better in the second half, to have men over. I was more satisfied with the second half. We can definitely play better.

"Our idea is to put the opponent under pressure. Today we weren't able to implement it as we had planned. It will be a difficult season, we knew that in advance.

"Now we have to take the positives from the situation and improve on the things that didn't go so well."

Bayern, who are top of the table on goal difference ahead of RB Leipzig after 11 games, have now fallen behind in each of their past five Bundesliga matches - a trend forward Thomas Muller is keen to buck.

"We've often gone a goal down recently. It happened very early today. Union fought hard and played man-to-man," Muller said.

"We made life difficult for ourselves, especially in the first 20 minutes. We need momentum again and to bounce back again.

"We have the quality, mentally too, but of course it just happens that we not winning but rather drawing matches. It feels too little given our ambitions."

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