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Are Hansi Flick's Bayern better than Jupp Heynckes' or Pep Guardiola's?

Bayern Munich's 2012/13 treble-winning side and Pep Guardiola's 2013/14 Bundesliga champions set an impressive benchmark, but Robert Lewandowski, Alphonso Davies and Co. are scaling the same stratospheric heights this season under Hansi Flick.

When Philipp Lahm lifted the UEFA Champions League trophy into London's night sky at Wembley in 2013, Bayern were the undisputed kings of domestic and European football. Guardiola replaced Jupp Heynckes as first-team coach that summer, and though their continental crown slipped, they picked up the Bundesliga title in record time, wrapping up the Meisterschale on Matchday 28.

While Flick's side have a four-point lead over Borussia Dortmund after Matchday 26 and could be taken all the way to secure an eighth successive Bundesliga title, the current Bayern team are putting up numbers to match — and even outstrip — their illustrious predecessors.

Since replacing Niko Kovac in November with Bayern fourth in the table - four points behind leaders Borussia Mönchengladbach after the Matchday 10 defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt that cost Kovac his job - Flick has rewritten the Bundesliga's history books.

bundesliga.com looked into the stats, and it's easy to understand the revolution in fortunes: 13 wins from 16 Bundesliga games, a Bundesliga-record win ratio of 81 per cent. His points-per-game ratio of 2.5 tucks him in just behind Pep's 2.6 of 2013/14 and Heynckes' phenomenal 2.7 of the unprecedented treble-winning campaign that preceded it.

But those numbers alone are not enough to explain why Bayern - having initially installed Flick on an interim basis until the end of the 2019/20 season - have now pinned him down on a full-time basis until 2023.

As Bayern board member Olivier Kahn said, "Hansi knows the mentality of the club", and Flick himself has recognised that things have changed since he was a player at the club in the late 1980s.

"In my time as a player, only success counted. You won 1-0, it didn't matter how," explained the 55-year-old. "Today, winning isn't enough. Of course, in the end it comes down to winning the title. But I can fully understand that Bayern have ambitions to go beyond giving their fans 1-0 wins."

Mission accomplished for Hansi. Bayern have failed to find the net just once under him - the goalless draw with RB Leipzig on Matchday 21 - and have recorded only a single 1-0 victory during his tenure.

Bayern's 2-0 victory at Union Berlin to mark their return to competition brought up 50 goals in Flick's 16 league games, an average of 3.1 per match that puts even Heynckes and Guardiola in the shade. Hardly surprising, it's the best ratio for a Bundesliga coach ever. Add in four Champions League games, that ratio shoots up to 3.5 goals every 90 minutes.

Goalscoring certainly gets easier when you have a striker of the calibre of Lewandowski in your side. "He scored again, is at 26 goals, and has eight games left to break Gerd Muller's record. That's not going to be easy but he has the quality,” said Flick of his pedigree Poland international forward, who still has a shot at the Bayern legend's iconic mark of 40 league goals from 1971/72. "If someone can do it, it's him."

And Lewy's teammates are making sure his strikes count. They have conceded an average of just 0.6 goals a game under Flick, and the clean sheet in Berlin was their tenth in the league with their new boss, and the fifth successive competitive outing in which their opponents have failed to score.

Their success has been built as much on sweat as skill as Flick also has his side working hard. On average, they run 1.8 miles further per game than Heynckes' treble winners and 1.2 miles more than Pep's record-breaking Bundesliga champs. They also play with frightening intensity: 261 sprints per game, compared to 165 for Heynckes' men and 214 for Guardiola's.

And - believe it or not - they believe they can still get better. Don't take our word for it? Just ask Davies.

"There's definitely room for improvement," Bayern's Canada international left-back told bundesliga.com after the win at Union. "Everything you do, you can improve. We didn't play our best in this game but we'll look back in training and patch some stuff up."

Patch stuff up? Look out Frankfurt and Dortmund - the league leaders' next two opponents - because there doesn't seem to be too much wrong with Flick's formidable line-up. If they can maintain their eye-watering stats, they could well find themselves being remembered on a par with the sides Guardiola and Heynckes inscribed forever in Bundesliga and Bayern history.

Source: Bundesliga

 

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