BERLIN, May 22 (Reuters) – Bayern Munich players must work harder to motivate each other to maintain a winning mentality while playing in empty stadiums, coach Hansi Flick said on Friday.
The Bundesliga became the first major sports league to restart last week after more than two months following an easing of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions in Germany, but games are played without fans for health safety reasons.
“What is decisive is mentality. Obviously it is an advantage if you have higher quality on the pitch but this is a situation which is not very easy,” Flick, speaking in a virtual news conference, said of the empty stadiums.
“It is key that you bring that mentality to the pitch. It is important that the team pushes itself so as to cover the level of motivation that has gone missing with the empty stands.”
Bayern, who host Eintracht Frankfurt at the Allianz Arena on Saturday, are chasing a record-extending eighth consecutive Bundesliga title and are four points ahead of second-placed Borussia Dortmund.
They played their first game behind closed doors, beating Union Berlin 2-0.
“Everyone of us has now played at least one time in front of empty stands,” Flick said. “We know what to expect. Before our game last week we had also trained at the Aliianz Arena (and not at the training centre) so we know what to expect in terms of atmosphere.”
Under the league’s health regulations only some 200 people are allowed on, around the pitch and in the stands during the game. Another 100 mainly security staff are outside the stadium to keep any fans wanting to celebrate with the team away. (Reporting by Karolos Grohmann Editing by Christian Radnedge)