Jerome Boateng faces fitness test for Bayern as Hansi Flick sticks to game plan


By: Reuters | Lisbon |

Published: August 23, 2020 2:01:01 am





Niklas Sule is the most likely deputy for Jerome Boateng. (Source: Reuters)

Bayern Munich central defender Jerome Boateng faces a late fitness test for Sunday’s Champions League final against Paris St Germain but coach Hansi Flick says whatever the line-up he does not plan to radically change his team’s tactics.

Boateng had to go off at half-time with a muscle injury in Wednesday’s 3-0 semi-final win over Olympique Lyonnais and Flick said he would be assessed after training later on Saturday.

“Jerome will train with us this afternoon, we are going to wait for final training session and hope that he will be fit enough to start the match; after training I will hold a meeting with staff and debate the way forward,” Flick told a news conference on Saturday.

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Should Boateng not be ready to start then Niklas Sule, who came on for him against Lyon, is the most likely deputy to play alongside David Alaba in the centre of defence.

Bayern’s tactic of playing a high defensive line, in order to compress their opponents in their own half, allowed Lyon some opportunities and, with PSG’s pacey strike force of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, some commentators have wondered if Flick might need to take a more cautious approach in the final.

EXPLAINED | What will it take for PSG to stop Bayern Munich?

But the 55-year-old, who took over at Bayern following the sacking of Niko Kovac in November, suggested that he was unlikely to make a major adjustment.

“What’s important is that we can actually press the opposition when they’re in possession and then when the ball goes into that space in behind us, our defenders need to make sure that we cover all of that ground.

“They have a lot of quality in their attack, perhaps similar to Barcelona on that score. Lyon played in a very direct style, they went straight towards goal and often played long balls forward into that spacing behind the defence.

“So it’s very important we are able to cut out those passing lanes so that we don’t afford the opposition space to play the ball into. Of course, PSG have a lot of pace in the side. They’re a top team with some incredible players and it’s a very exciting match.

“But over the last 10 months, we’ve always tried to impose our style of play on the opposition. We’ve always played with a high line against the opposition and ultimately we’ve got results doing that. So we won’t change too much on that score,” he said.

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