When Hansi Flick took over struggling Bayern Munich in November 2019 the media headlines declared that teams should no longer fear the German champions.
However, outstanding teamwork and a hunger for victory turned the season around, the coach said on Sunday.
Bayern beat Paris St Germain 1-0 courtesy of Kingsley Coman’s 59th minute winner to claim their third trophy of the season following their Bundesliga and German Cup double and complete an amazing transformation.
“I am proud of this team,” a beaming Flick told reporters. “When I started in November I read the headlines: ‘No need to fear or respect Bayern Munich anymore’, ‘The team is awful.”
“But the development of my team since then has been sensational. We made maximum use of everything. It is not easy to win three titles. It was hard work,” he added.
Flick replaced Niko Kovac in November after a 5-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt and with Bayern having dropped out of the top three in the Bundesliga.
But the former Germany assistant coach almost instantly turned the campaign on its head, leading Bayern to an unbeaten 2020 in every competition.
They have won 21 consecutive matches in all competitions and are on a 30-game unbeaten run in spite of a two-month break in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Flick reinstalled Thomas Mueller in attack behind Robert Lewandowski and also plucked Jerome Boateng from the bench to restore order in the Bayern’s defence.
“You could see during winter how much determination we have in this team, which is obviously something you wish for as a coach,” Flick said. “The team is eager and we have players with boundless desire to win.”
“The only thing that was missing was the fans. Maybe in the future we can have games with fans again. This sport deserves it.”
The eight-team Champions League tournament was played in Lisbon in empty stadiums due to the pandemic.
The Bavarians won every Champions League game this season – including a memorable 8-2 demolition of Barcelona in the quarter-finals – becoming the first side to do so.
“The team is always in the foreground,” Flick said. “When you see how we worked until the 96th minute tonight in defence then it is a superb team spirit.
“Every player developed this season in such a way so as to win three titles. This only happens as a team.” (Reuters/NAN)