BERLIN, Germany, Aug 23 – Philipp Lahm, who captained Bayern Munich to their last European title in 2013, put current head coach Hansi Flick on a par with the club’s legendary Champions League-winning bosses Jupp Heynckes and Ottmar Hitzfeld ahead of Sunday’s final against Paris Saint-Germain.
Lahm captained Bayern when they beat Borussia Dortmund 2-1 in the 2013 Champions League final in London, then led Germany to the 2014 World Cup title in Brazil before retiring in 2017.
The 36-year-old is full of praise for Flick, who can land the treble on his first season in charge if Bayern, who are on a 20-match winning streak, beat Neymar-inspired PSG in Sunday’s Champions League final in Lisbon.
“When you look back at FC Bayern’s past, at Ottmar Hitzfeld or Jupp Heynckes, it was one of their strengths that they did not hog the limelight, but worked for the team,” Lahm told broadcaster ZDF.
“That’s exactly how Hansi Flick is.”
Heynckes, 75, coached Bayern to the 2013 European title at Wembley, while Hitzfeld, 71, was in charge when they won the 2001 Champions League final by beating Valencia in Milan.
In 10 months, Flick, 55, has gone from interim coach to leading Bayern to the Bundesliga, German Cup titles and is now 90 minutes from lifting the Champions League trophy.
Bayern have steamrolled their way into Sunday’s final, scoring 42 goals in 10 matches, including their jaw-dropping 8-2 demolition of Barcelona in the quarter-finals.
This is Flick’s first job in charge of a Bundesliga club, having been assistant coach when Germany won the 2014 World Cup before going on to become sports director of the German FA until 2017.
Lahm praised Flick for reuniting Bayern’s star-studded squad after predecessor Niko Kovac, whom he replaced in November, lost the dressing room.
“He (Flick) has seen who he can really trust, who is important for the team,” said Lahm.
One example is Thomas Mueller who has thrived after Flick reinstalled him to Bayern’s starting line-up and produced one of the best seasons of his stellar career.
“The team has found itself again,” said Lahm, “that’s why they are just ahead as favourites” to win Sunday’s final.
Lahm says the self-confidence the Bayern squad exudes contrasts to the 2013 side who were under pressure after losing the 2010 and 2012 finals.
“We were under enormous pressure because we had lost two finals, so the pressure isn’t as high as it was,” Lahm added.