E60 minutes had already been played when Hansi Flick tried something that he had never done before. He called Leroy Sané, his striker. They stood on the grass, shoulder to shoulder, the coach talked, gestured, the player listened. And when Sané trotted back onto the field, he no longer took up his familiar position at Bayern in front of the flank, but in the back left: as a full-back.
In the “joker position”, as Flick said afterwards, Sané had “done very well” defensively, he “went with” and “went backwards”. Those were compliments that Flick did not give his € 50 million new signing Sané in the first few months of the season, on the contrary. The defensive negligence in Sané’s game was the main reason why he had to play in the sportingly insignificant Champions League away game against Atlético Madrid – Bayern had already been group winners and round of 16 participants – while most of the regular players signed up for the Bundesliga game against Leipzig on Saturday (6.30 p.m. in the FAZ live ticker for the Champions League and on Sky) were allowed to rest. Sané played through. The game in Madrid ended 1-1. And Flick said: “I am very happy with the result.”
The role change of Sané was namely the most unusual experiment on an evening that Flick used for several unusual experiments. He nominated two 17-year-olds for the starting line-up: Jamal Musiala, who played in the premier class for the first time from the start, and Bright Arrey-Mbi, who wasn’t even allowed to do that in the Bundesliga before. The latter was part of the five-man chain that the coach decided for once and which only conceded one goal (João Félix, 26th minute), before which Arrey-Mbi was outwitted with a simple one-two.
In the course of the game, Flick also switched to Angelo Stiller, 19 years old. “The young players did their job well,” said Flick, “some a little more.” By that he meant the offensive player Musiala, who outsmarted Atlético’s defenders himself with his hooks. Musiala’s dribbling skills shouldn’t come as a surprise to Flick. There were “some findings” for this, which Flick claims to have collected. He only wants to share and analyze this with his coaching team.
Thomas Müller’s driving force should not be one of them. She is known to Flick, in Madrid she was once again not to be overlooked. When Müller came on, the game changed. It was also he who prevented defeat. He took a penalty and converted to 1: 1 (86th).