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Bayern boss Flick refuses to blame players or fatigue for shock loss

Berlin (AFP) – Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick refused to blame fatigue or his players for Sunday’s shock 4-1 defeat at Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga which ended the European champions’ 23-match winning streak.

Having needed 120 minutes before to beat Sevilla 2-1 in the UEFA Super Cup showdown in Budapest on Thursday, Bayern lost for the first time in ten months, but Flick refused to blame his side’s tired limbs.

“It was clear that we would lose at some point. We’re going to forget this game and still have confidence in our strengths,” said Flick in Hoffenheim as Bayern lost for the first time since December 2019.

“I can’t really blame the team for their dedication and determination. The mentality after the 120 minutes on Thursday was top.

“We’ll tick this game off and prepare to face Dortmund,” Flick added with one eye on Wednesday’s German Super Cup showdown in Munich, which could give Bayern a fifth title in 2020.

Bayern captain Manuel Neuer also refused to blame their crammed fixture list, a knock-on effect of the coronavirus pandemic, with the defending German champions often playing twice a week this season.

“We’re not looking for excuses.  This is what awaits us this year.  There’s a game every couple of days, we know that and have to accept it,” said Neuer.

Flick rested star striker Robert Lewandowski from his starting side, but Bayern never recovered from conceding two goals in the opening 25 minutes.

First, Hoffenheim defender Ermin Bicakcic, who later went off injured, headed the hosts into the lead, then striker Munas Dabbur chipped Manuel Neuer after a horrible mistake by Munich defender Benjamin Pavard.

A superb strike by Joshua Kimmich from the edge of the area gave Bayern a 2-1 lifeline at half-time.

Having hit the cross bar just before the break, Croatia international striker Andrej Kramaric netted a second-half goal, then converted a late penalty to seal the win and move Hoffenheim to the top of the league.

Bayern are in the unusual position of seventh in the Bundesliga table after the first two matches.

“The table standings mean nothing, honestly”, insisted Hoffenheim coach Sebastian Hoeness, the 38-year-old nephew of Bayern’s honorary president Uli Hoeness who coached Munich’s reserves last season before joining Hoffenheim.

“The win means that we are on the right path, the main thing is that we stay cool, we are still in a process” of developing.”

Bayern forward Thomas Mueller said they will take the defeat in their stride.

“I don’t know any team in sport that has remained undefeated or without defeat for years,” he said.

“Of course, we didn’t want that and before the game I didn’t have the feeling at all that it would happen today. But it happened.

“Now we just have to deal with it, have a good rest and on Wednesday, go straight into the next game.

“We have a very nice opportunity to fight back.”

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