Hansi Flick waxed lyrical about Erling Haaland in the Bayern bosses’ final press conference ahead of Der Klassiker on Saturday.
With four places and thirteen points separating Bayern in first and BVB in fifth, it is not going to be a traditional ‘classic’ where the title is on the line – Dortmund are well and truly out of this season’s title race. Instead the final Klassiker of the season is all about the shoot-out between the two best strikers on the planet.
“It is possible to say the future is his. He has absolutely everything you need to be a top player.”
Whilst Flick heaped praise on Haaland, surely he wouldn’t replace probably the only striker in world football who is better than the Norwegian wonderkid – Robert Lewandowski.
Lewandowski has an unbelievable 28 goals from 22 Bundesliga games this season which makes Haaland’s haul of 30 goals in 33 Bundesliga games look almost ordinary.
It is clear to see that neither striker is ordinary, with both at different stages in their career.
At 32 Lewandowski is at the club he will most likely end the pinnacle of his career, whilst Haaland, 12 years younger than his Polish opposite at just 20, is on the cusp of becoming the next dominant striker in European football.
On Haaland, Flick said: “He has everything a central striker needs. He is hungry, he scores goals. It is possible to say the future is his. He has absolutely everything you need to be a top player.
“He has great finishing skills, he is very fast and he has this mentality that makes him want to win games. He wants to score and you can see that in every moment. If you look at his intensity, he sprints across the entire pitch just to have the possible chance to score a goal. That is fantastic to have.”
Flick confirmed that Benjamin Pavard will not be part of the team for Saturday’s Klassiker.
The French international has just returned from having to isolate due to covid and, even though Hansi said it wouldn’t have been much of a risk to put the fullback on the bench, because he has a full squad to choose from, there is no rush in bringing Pavard back.
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In a moment of reflection, it has been a year without fans being permitted into stadiums.
Flick was reminded of this and heaped praise on supporters saying they provided players with energy, saying you can never get used to them being away.
However the Bayern boss did concede it is unlikely fans will be allowed back any time soon.
Form guides strongly suggest Bayern will come out on top at the Allainz Arena.
Bayern have won the last six Bundesliga clashes against BVB at home by an aggregate of 26 to 3.
The Reds have also won the last four on the bounce.
If they win tomorrow they will match their best run versus Dortmund since 1970.
Even though Dortmund have had a troubled season this year, with poor mid season form and a coaching replacement, Flick says the BlackYellows are still a class side and one Bayern have to treat with the upmost respect.
On tomorrow’s match, Flick said: “It is always a special game. It is always a game at the absolute top level. Dortmund is a team of absolute class.
“This season they are not second or third but none the less in the last weeks they showed their quality. They have a lot of experienced players in Hummels and Can. They also have young, very good and fast players in Sancho, Haaland and Reyna.
“Tomorrow it will be important to approach the game knowing we have to be part of this battle.”
Bayern Munich v Borussia Dortmund, Bundesliga matchday 24, Saturday 6th March, KO 1730 GMT.