When Bayern Munich’s bosses named Hansi Flick as interim coach to replace the sacked Niko Kovac in November, no-one believed he was heading for a record-breaking season and a shot at the treble.
However, the 55-year-old former Bayern midfielder has taken his debut season by storm and won his first silverware when the Munich side beat Werder Bremen 1-0 away on Tuesday to secure their eighth consecutive Bundesliga title.
With the German Cup and Champions League still up for grabs, more trophies could follow.
Before his appointment, Flick, known for his detailed planning and meticulous data analysis, had no experience as a Bundesliga head coach, having been surprisingly appointed as Kovac’s assistant at the start of the season.
A former Germany assistant coach to Joachim Loew who helped guide them to the 2014 World Cup title, Flick had then gone over to a German Football Association sports director position.
Coaching did not look like an immediate option before his appointment at Bayern.
When Kovac was sacked with the Bavarians outside the leading positions and the team in disarray, Flick’s promotion was to be a temporary two-game solution before a big-name replacement was found.
But after a winning debut in the Champions League, Flick’s team demolished title rivals Borussia Dortmund 4-0 in the Bundesliga only a week after a 5-1 thrashing by Eintracht Frankfurt had triggered Kovac’s departure.
QUICK TURNAROUND The club’s bosses, impressed by the quick turnaround and the team’s attacking game, announced Flick would be staying until further notice and Bayern won five out of seven league games under him to go into the winter break.
The coach reinstalled Thomas Mueller in his favourite role behind the strikers and he delivered in style, racking up 20 assists -- mostly for top scorer Robert Lewandowski who struck the winner at Werder Bremen on Tuesday.
Mueller has scored seven goals so far, reclaiming the starting spot he lost under Kovac.
Flick also plucked fellow World Cup winner Jerome Boateng out of obscurity as the champions’ backline became more solid despite the absence of the injured Lucas Hernandez and Niklas Suele.
A sensational run since the winter break saw Bayern win 13 of 14 games before Tuesday’s triumph and remain unruffled by the two-month suspension of the season due to the new coronavirus pandemic.
Bayern reclaimed top spot while cruising to the German Cup final, in which they face Bayer Leverkusen on July 4, and setting a league record with 90 goals after 30 matchdays.
Having won a club record 25 games from his first 28 matches in all competitions, Flick had already signed a long-term deal until 2023.
With the Champions League due to restart at some stage, Flick’s first season in charge could turn from impressive to spectacular with the Bavarians rightfully eyeing a treble.