Tue, 26 Jan 2021

By Oliver Trust

BERLIN, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) -- 2020 treble winner Bayern Munich is suffering from a dearth of defenders.

For various reasons, coach Hansi Flick has been forced to rethink his line up for the Champions League group match against RB Salzburg this Wednesday.

Ongoing contract issues involving David Alaba and Jerome Boateng have increased the disharmony in the German champion's defence.

Niklas Suele's apparent weight problems plus the injuries to Joshua Kimmich, Alphonso Davies, Corentin Tolisso, and Lucas Hernandez have added to the coach's troubles.

The permanent load of games due to the tight schedule caused by the COVID-19 pandemic after an energy sapping 2019/2020 season doesn't leave much room for recovery.

The situation surrounding Alaba and Boateng is making Flick's life difficult.

The 55-year-old's comments on the Austrian and the former German international seem to draw a gloomy picture of Bayern's staffing policy.

Flick criticized the timing of the club officials' decision to end negotiations with Alaba and said it had not been the right time to announce the intention not to extend Boateng's expiring contract.

The Bayern coach said there is no reason to write off a player of Boateng's class. His statements have been understood as criticism of the club's management.

While former Paris player Tanguy Nianzou isn't part of Bayern's Champions League squad, Niklas Suele was excluded from the club's league squad against Werder Bremen last weekend as he lacked the necessary fitness.

Flick said the German international isn't fully fit: "We will start talking about his return when he is at 100 percent again."

According to reports, Suele is suffering from weight problems after returning late August after rupturing his cruciate. To make matters worse, the 25-year-old had to go into quarantine after an erroneous positive COVID-19 test.

Suele nevertheless received a late call from the German national coach Joachim Loew for two internationals.

Flick can't count on support as his side faces a constant flood of games until at least the end of February 2021.

Next to league and Cup games, Bayern needs to keep their heads up in the Champions League and the FIFA Club World Cup, which has been shifted to February. At the beginning of 2021, Bayern has to play six games in 17 days -and the situation is compounded by all the travel involved.

"It's obvious that we have already gone beyond the limits of what is manageable for clubs and players," said an unhappy Flick.

The Bayern coach mentioned problems of all the clubs playing in international competitions.

Next to Flick, leading coaches such as Juergen Klopp and Jose Mourinho have complained about the growing number of competitive encounters and that the burden is harming players' health.

In advance of the 2020/2021 season, Flick's warnings about his squad's relatively small size was largely ignored by the club's management. Now it seems it is up to the coach to deal with the shortage and a critical atmosphere on his way trying to repeat last season's success.

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