Berlin (AFP) – Interim coach Hansi Flick says Philippe Coutinho’s first Champions League goal for Bayern Munich proved the on-loan playmaker is finally settling in.
Coutinho, 27, is attempting to reboot his career in Germany on a season-long temporary deal after a frustrating 18 months at Barcelona.
After impressing by scoring and setting up a goal against Cologne, then Paderborn in September, the Brazil attacker’s form dipped in the autumn.
He was left out of Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at league leaders Borussia Moenchengladbach.
However, he showed some deadly finishing with a superb goal in Wednesday’s 3-1 win over Tottenham as Bayern became the first Bundesliga club to win all six group games in the Champions League.
“He’s on the right track. We know that it’s not always so easy to get a foothold in Germany,” Flick said of Coutinho on Friday.
“He played well (against Spurs), it was important for him to show some joy in his game.
“He had some touches that I really liked and the logical consequence was his goal, which he took beautifully.
“He has enormous qualities and will show them again here and again.”
Wednesday’s win over Spurs boosted confidence after back-to-back league defeats leave Bayern seventh in the table, seven points behind leaders Moenchengladbach.
“I’m definitely sleeping better,” admitted Flick, with a decision about his future expected after their final game before the winter break against Wolfsburg on December 21.
Flick wants three points from each of their next three league games, starting at home to Werder Bremen on Saturday, a tricky away tie at fifth-placed Freiburg on Wednesday before hosting the Wolves.
However, he is without forwards Corentin Tolisso and Kingsley Coman, who are both injured, while defender Javi Martinez is suspended.
Austria international David Alaba is expected to return while Flick has included four reserve team players, including New Zealand midfielder Sarpreet Singh, in his squad.
If the 20-year-old features on Saturday, he will become the Bundesliga’s first player of Indian origin.
Bremen coach Florian Kohfeldt wants his side to play with some “anger” to help break their run of 20 straight defeats against Bayern.
“You can’t achieve much with anger. We have to be disciplined in our game,” retorted Flick.
“They (Bremen) are an opponent capable of exploiting things if we’re not on top of them. We want to end the year with three wins.”
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