Football

Hansi Flick wants Bayern to be ready from the start against Lazio

Bayern Munich are showing chinks in their armour ahead of their Champions League last 16, first leg at Lazio, after dropping points and leaking goals in the Bundesliga.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE ROUND OF 16, 1ST LEG
LAZIO BAYERN MUNICH

The reigning European champions crashed to a 2-1 league defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt last Saturday, after being held to a 3-3 home draw by strugglers Arminia Bielefeld last week.

Bayern's commanding lead in the Bundesliga has been slashed from seven points early this month to just two, after second-placed RB Leipzig's 3-0 win at Hertha Berlin on Sunday.

Their defence remains a cause for concern, having conceded 31 goals after 22 league games - their worst record at the back for 29 years.

The Bavarian side have looked fatigued since winning the Club World Cup in Qatar earlier this month.

Over the weekend, chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge took a swipe at the team, who had found themselves 2-0 down to both Frankfurt and Bielefeld.

Slamming the team's inconsistency, Rummenigge told broadcaster ZDF: "We sometimes only put in the effort over the last few metres.

"That (dropping five points) is unusual for FC Bayern and not what we had in mind."

They will be facing an in-form Lazio side, who racked up their seventh straight victory at Stadio Olimpico with last Saturday's 1-0 win over Sampdoria.

Noting his side's recent tendency to concede first, Bayern coach Hansi Flick said: "Against Lazio, I want us to be there as a team from the start.

"We have an idea of how we want to play and we have to do that from the start."

Bayern's squad depth has been severely tested since their Qatar sojourn. Defender Benjamin Pavard and forward Thomas Mueller have been unavailable after testing positive for Covid-19.

Midfielder Corentin Tolisso is set for a long layoff after a thigh surgery, while winger Serge Gnabry also has a thigh problem and is a doubt for Lazio.

But midfielder Leon Goretzka, who came on against Frankfurt for his first game since testing positive for the coronavirus last month, is set to start.

With Bayern hit by personnel issues, Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi is eyeing an upset, saying: "More than Bayern's weaknesses, I'm worki ng on Lazio's strengths. We want to stay in the competition." - REUTERS

Football