Bundesliga in times of coronavirus: ask us anything

Alexander Separator March 14, 2020

Bayern’s match against Union Berlin this weekend will not take place, as will every other fixture this matchday.

We have decided to suspend our previews and analyses of Bayern’s matches accordingly for the time being. At the moment, we are looking into alternatives to keep you entertained here on our blog over the coming weeks and months until regular football resumes.

If you have any questions for our editorial team or any wishes or suggestions for potential content, please feel free to comment under this article. We would like to keep in touch with you.

»Eier, wir brauchen Eier!«

— Oliver Kahn

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  1. It would be great to get your view point on the following points:
    1) How the winning momentum will be affected by the break
    2) Will break be utilized effectively to improve tactics and further strengthen the squad with sule, perisic, coman, javi
    martinez and hernandez in full fitness.
    3) Boateng and alaba or sule and hernandez?
    4) No international matches no threat of injury but no actual game time boon or curse?
    5) Will further Progress in UCL hamper as opponents which were inconsistent so far get a breather
    6) Hansi flick contract?

  2. Hi Atharva Rahane,

    Thanks for your questions! Let’s see…
    (Disclaimer: This is my personal opinion and others from the Miasanrot crew may take a different view.)

    1. I think all notion of a “momentum” has gone straight out of the window by now. Officially, the league is suspended until the beginning of April – which in terms of a break doesn’t seem too long to necessarily lose your momentum – but I’d be extremely surprised if it actually resumed at that time. I’m fairly convinced that we’ll not see any other competitive football played in Germany (or Europe for that matter) at least until the beginning of the new season. At which point, of course, any potential momentum a team might currently have will be over and done with.

    2. I have no idea. This situation is unprecedented. If I’m correct and there won’t be any competitive football for at least several months’ time, I have no idea what the clubs and players are going to do to bridge that time. Will they give the players several months off? Will they keep training for weeks and months no matter what without actual competition taking place? Will they even be allowed to? In Italy, for example, several clubs have already put all training on hold in order to help contain the spread of the virus in line with the government’s request to scale down the number of social interactions in public as far as possible. And, not to forget, there’s always the risk that a player or staff member catches the coronavirus, which would result in a two week long quarantine for at least that player and possibly others as well. And what if that happens more than once? How will the team proceed in terms of training and keeping fit if there are always one or several players absent? Long story short: In the current situation, improving tactics and honing the interplay between certain players will be the least of Bayern’s worries. There are much more fundamental things at stake right now.

    3. Alaba, Süle, and Hernandez. Boateng is on his way out in my opinion.

    4. Curse. See 2.

    5. Irrelevant. I believe that this season of the UCL is over. See 1.

    6. Yes, now more so than ever. I believe that this extraordinary and unprecedented coronavirus situation has reset the plans and ideas of most football executives, including Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Oliver Kahn etc. All high-flying plans they might have had for how to improve the squad and possibly make a change in the coaching position to become even stronger next season will have been at least put on hold, and potentially discarded altogether. Bayern’s management will be happy to have a functioning team and a qualified coach in place at all come next season. For any football club, this is no time to pursue lofty targets, this is a time to make sure the foundation doesn’t collapse. In short, in my opinion Bayern would be stupid not to secure Flick’s services for at least another season as soon as possible. They have bigger things to worry about.

  3. Thank you very much.

  4. It would be great to have your opinion on these topic:

    – Estimate the impact of current virus outbreak (e.g. all competitions suspended) to Bayern, and other Bundesliga club
    – The tactical development of the team since last November. Can Hansi Flick become one of Jupp or Klopp?
    – Kai Havertz or Leroy Sane (a.k.a how to do summer transfer properly)? With all excitement that Havertz potentially brings with him, there are 2 big obstacles: price tag, and Thomas Muller. On the other hand, the plan of sitting and monitoring Sane’s post-injury recovery is now thrown out of the window, will we still go for him? With also rumors of us getting a quality RB and a quality centre-back, I tend to think we would not get both of them.
    – Can you share a bit more information on Miasansrot editorial teams, e.g what do you do, what do you like, where are you, etc?
    – An evaluation of Oliver Kahn

    Thank you.

  5. Hello Hien,
    First off, thank you for your questions. As Alex said in his reply to a previous post, I can only offer my own opinions on your questions. Since I am not a medical professional and do not have a job within FIFA UEFA nor the DFB, I can only offer opinions based on the facts I have available. That disclaimer aside:
    1) This is very difficult to do. On field, obviously the impact could be the exact same for everyone if the season is ended completely as many expect. Assuming that they restart in early May. I think the biggest impact will be players returning from injuries and most teams being relatively healthy. In many ways, you could argue that this delay helps the largest teams in Europe more than anyone else because any layoff or rust will likely impact the better players less. But that’s all hypothesis. In terms of money, that also will be largely dependent upon what happens going forward. If they finish out the season, the fiscal impact will be relatively small. If the season is canceled, it’s hard to predict what the impact will be. Obviously game day revenues will be hugely impacted. I’m not sure how the TV revenue would be impacted but I’m sure there will be some ramifications. I’m sure that this will also impact the sale of merchandise. If these things happen, I think FIFA may need to ease regulations on FFP in the coming year. It would be more detrimental to the smaller clubs to keep the FFP rules as they are if their revenues are reduced even further though they will still need to regulate what the bigger teams spend. Will be a tough balance.
    2.) I see Hansi as having more potential to become a Jupp type than Klopp. I don’t think Flicks tactics are that revolutionary that he will impact a team the way Klopp does. However, that is not necessarily a bad thing. His ability to relate to players and get them to work hard for him, can be just as great a tool, maybe even more important. He is certainly not incompetent tactically and if he can improve in some key areas, especially in game management, I think he can be every bit as good as Jupp in the long term. As of when the season ended, I think Flick was still more getting things back to a standard level of play after the disastrous period under Kovac and just starting to put some of his own ideas in place. If he sticks around for another season, and has more time to really put his stamp on the team, I think we will learn more about what he really wants to do and how adaptable he is to his opponents and the players he has available.
    3) Sane makes more sense to me thank Havertz, for many of the reasons you mention. I’ll start with Havertz though. The link to Bayern at the beginning of the season made a lot of sense. Muller was struggling and had been for a few years. Havertz is German and was coming off a tremendous season. He’s young and clearly very talented. The problem is nearly all of that has changed except his age, nationality and the price tag. Muller has been tremendous since Flick took over. Havertz has had a pretty mediocre season. Those two things alone would give me pause, but coupled with the fact that I think we’ll have at least one of Goretzka/Tolisso next season along with the amount Bayer are asking, leaves me wondering what the point would be.
    Sane on the other hand makes complete sense to me. World class attacking players are difficult to come by. It is also extremely difficult to keep them healthy for entire seasons, so the fact that we have Gnabry and Coman to me is of little importance. Having 3 legitimate starting options and 1 more back up like Perisic all makes sense and would for the first time in many seasons, actually provide enough cover for those two positions. I also think that this long enforced layoff would give me less pause on buying him. It should actually allow his knee to heal even more thoroughly which to me is a boon.
    Finally, I can’t decide if the CB rumors are smoke and mirrors or not. The whole premise of this is due to the amount of left footed players in the back line which I think is being way overblown. First of all, if we do bring in another primary RB, we will still have Pavard and Sule who are right footed CB’s, assuming we sell Boateng and Martinez. Secondly, I don’t see why we would want to bring in another player for that position unless they make changes to the LB position. I know that we will almost certainly encounter injuries at CB again next season, but there is already going to be a shortage of minutes for players when they’re healthy. Sule, Pavard, Hernandez and Alaba are all going to want to play and have all made a strong case to play. I can see having 1 more guy who is clearly a backup, either keeping one of Boateng or Martinez or possibly using someone like Mai finally, but I think it would be a massive mistake to bring in another player to compete for a starting spot.
    Regarding the RB position, I’m split on this one as well. You could bring in another RB and permanently change Kimmich’s position to the midfield, or you could bring in another actual defensive midfielder and move Kimmich back to RB. You can easily argue either way, but to me Kimmich is a special RB, maybe the best in the world at that position, and at least in the conversation even if you feel there are others who are better. While he has played very well in the midfield, and I know it is his preferred position, I think his impact is less overall, even though it was hugely impactful and important this season. As I’m sure you can tell, I’d prefer to sign another 6 and leave Kimmich at RB with Pavard as a backup and Kimmich as a second option for the midfield, but I have a feeling they will opt to sign another RB and leave Kimmich as a 6.
    4) I will share a little bit but not too much so as to protect people’s privacy. The majority of the team is based in Germany. We have a few people who are abroad, including myself (USA). Personally, I enjoy all sports and played baseball at a collegiate level in the US and basketball through High School. I also enjoy traveling, finding new and fun food to try, exercise and many different forms of media (especially film and music.) I work as an accountant and enjoy contributing to MSR as much as possible.
    5) Any attempt to evaluate Kahn right now would be the height of futility. There’s just no real evidence one way or another as to the job he’s doing.
    Hopefully I have satisfactorily answered your questions. It was nice to think of something normal for a few minutes, even if it is short lived.

  6. Hello,

    Thanks a lot for your sharing Marc. I hope you and the editorial teams, along with your families, are still safe. This situation is getting worryingly, and annoyingly. I hope we can be back to normal life soon, and enjoy football too.

    Some more comment regarding above points:

    – There has been rumour saying Flick prefer Werner to Sane, and also he’s a big fan of Havetz. Do you think there is any truth to it? This could change our entire transfer strategy. In my opinion this actually makes sense, with a coach who values team unity, pressing and work-rate like Flick, it’s not really surprising if he isn’t really a fan of Sane, but the latter. For Havetz, I don’t really know.

    – I think with Flick staying, it’s almost certain Kimmich will stay at midfield. Also given the current market it would be extremely difficult to find an equal performer to him that is available and most importantly cheaper than signing a right back. Of course the issue now is who would that right back be?

    – On one hand, you were right saying that Alaba – Hernandez – Pavard, with a Boateng/Martinez/Mai behind are already too much. On the other hand we already saw Alaba – Hernandez are not that great of a duo, due to both preferring the left position. In that case, not purchasing a recognized centre back means relying on Pavard for the righ position. Do you think he is up to the task? As a conservative right back, and occasional centre back he has been really good, but to be the main defender? The Hernandez vs Alaba is also a dilemma, the former is a 80 millions euro signing that is supposed to bring our defense to the next level, yet at the same time Alaba, if he stays, is, and will be the defensive boss. Do you think the decision to sign Hernandez was not a great one (in the sense that he was more for Kovac’s system than Flick’s) and can he grow and adapt to be the partner in crime for Alaba in defense?

    Answer Icon1 ReplyClose child-comments
    1. Never mind the last point, for an unknown reason, I completely forgot Sule when I was writing above comment. If he can get back to full fitness next season and Alaba stays our central defense is set. I hope Alaba’s long ball can take another step forward though. Losing Hummels this season and potentially Boateng the next seriously reduce our ball playing ability from the back, which is an important component of our play.

  7. Hi Hien,
    As far as I’m aware we’re all safe and healthy. Thank you for your concern and I hope the same is true for you and your family. I think we all would like to get back to normal life. Hopefully this will all happen sooner rather than later. There certainly seem to be some signs that we’re turning the corner, though anything seems possible at this point.

    Regarding Flicks preference for Werner over Sane, I do believe this is likely true. Flick has intimate knowledge of most of the German players, especially those with the national team from his time in the DFB. Given Sane’s absence from the 2018 World Cup Roster, I’m not surprised that he is not the biggest fan. Of course that wasn’t his decision, but I’m sure that as Jogi’s assistant, he would have had quite a bit of influence. Given these things to be true, I suspect he’ll have specific preferences that will largely align with many of the trends from the German National Team.

    Personally, I’m a little wary of Havertz. Mainly because I’m not sure where he plays with Thomas Muller around. Until Muller is no longer in the picture, I think it will be difficult for an offensive minded midfielder to find a spot in the squad. I think Sane and Werner would absolutely get playing time. Sane is one of the most talented wingers in football. Whether his mental makeup fits with Bayern and his work ethic is enough to turn him into one of the best wingers in football is an unknown. Obviously Flick feels one way and Brazzo the other. To me though, if you’re going to spend 100M on a player, it would be better to spend that in an area of need than on a player that is going to have a hard time finding consistent playing time. As for Werner, he is capable of playing as a winger or a striker. That provides valuable backup in two positions that we have the least amount of cover for. Given the relative “cheapness” of Werner to Sane, it would not at all surprise me that he is the player we ultimately end up with, which would also theoretically give Hansi more of that war chest to go fill other needs.

    You are correct, Kimmich will be staying in the midfield with Flick being made permanent. Obviously RB will become a priority for Bayern this summer. Hopefully with more time in the position and more surety as to where he’ll be playing, Kimmich can develop into as good a 6 as he was a RB, which is not to say he isn’t already very good. He is a great player with a tremendous work ethic and drive, so I’m hopeful this will be the case.

    Sule does seem to be the forgotten man right now but I think we have to assume that he’ll be back by next season and even if it takes some time to hit top form, be in the mix for one of the two starting CB positions. Personally, I think that Pavard is definitely capable of playing in either position and doing so well. I think we have better players at both positions but Pavard has proven to me this year that he is a very good player, and a very good option in defense.

    I’m not as down on Hernandez as everyone else seems to be. The big question for me is whether he can stay healthy. That part is very concerning. His performances early in the season were generally very good. After he came back from injury, they weren’t necessarily the best. However, I also think it takes time for players to get fully back up to speed following an injury, something exacerbated by playing alongside a CB that he had no previous relationship with in that position. As far as playing two left footed CB’s, again this is something I think people make far too much of. I’ve never seen anyone say the same thing about playing two right footed CB’s. While yes the ideal is probably to have a balanced line in defense, I don’t think it is a necessity.

    In general, it will be very interesting to see how Hansi handles the back line next year assuming that Alaba stays. Maybe Alaba pushes Davies back to the bench at times or more forward. But assuming they sign a RB, they have far too many players who will expect to start, or at the very least significant playing time, for 4 positions. Even if they sell Boateng and Martinez they have a lot of quality options at every position. Bringing in a squad player at CB may make sense, but I think it would be foolish to bring in another player who expects significant playing time in defense outside of a RB.

    I hope that Hernandez, Sule, Alaba and Pavard all can grow in terms of distribution. I do think it’s possible. They all have the tools to do so. It really comes down to how much work they put in, practice and time. It will be interesting to see what Hansi does with the team next season. He will finally have a period to put his stamp on the squad and work with them to play exactly how he wishes. If he places importance on distribution from that position, I suspect we’ll see a greatly improved performance from the players there.

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