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Friday, 06 August 2021

Bayern's Flick welcomes more substitutions for busy season restart

Reuters , Friday 15 May 2020
Hansi Flick & Robert Lewandowski
Bayern Munich's headcoach Hansi Flick (R) and Bayern Munich's Polish striker Robert Lewandowski (L) speak together during a training session at the football team's training grounds in Munich, southern Germany, on May 5, 2020. (AFP)

Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick on Friday welcomed a decision to allow five substitutions for the remainder of the season as the Bundesliga restarts on Saturday following a suspension of more than two months.

The German league is the first major sports competition to kick off on Saturday without spectators and with a tight set of health regulations after the forced break due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Bundesliga approved the change in substitutions on Thursday, designed to help teams cope with fixture congestion as they rush to complete the season while players still lack fitness and match practice.

"I now have two more options and I am happy about it especially at this current stage," Flick told a virtual news conference. "I hope this will not be used for time delay."

Bayern, who are top of the Bundesliga on 55 points, four ahead of Borussia Dortmund, travel to Union Berlin on Sunday, with nine matchdays left in the campaign.

"We will use it to substitute tired players. This is great with these weeks with lots of matches. I am very satisfied with this option," Flick said.

The players, who initially spent weeks at home following the lockdown in Germany, only gradually returned to training -- initially in small groups -- before resuming team practice.

All teams have gone into a one-week training camp in complete isolation in an effort to minimise the risk of infections as the Bundesliga rushes to wrap up the season for contractual reasons by June 30.

"We all still do not know if the team can play through over 90 minutes," said Flick, who in April signed a permanent deal to 2023.

"We had an internal game of very high intensity on Sunday. But it is clear we do not know where we are. We just have to deal with it and let no doubts come up.

"More than 200 countries will be watching. So we have an enormous audience to present ourselves. We want to deliver a top performance," Flick added.

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