Philippe Coutinho bagged a hat-trick in Bayern Munich’s Bundesliga meeting with Werder Bremen today, and his recent performances for the German champions have led many to believe he is back to his best.
Since leaving Liverpool for Barcelona in 2018 the Brazilian has struggled to find his best form, but it appears he is beginning to find his feet in Germany, especially since interim manager Hansi Flick as been in charge at the Allianz Arena following the sacking of Niko Kovac.
Coutinho is only on loan at Bayern, but many of his team-mates want him to sign permanently.
“If you watched the game today, we have to buy him, right?” David Alaba commented cheekily after the game.
There is a buyout clause in Coutinho’s loan contract which would allow Bayern to sign him permanently next summer, but they would have to fork out €120 million (£100m/$133m) to activate it.
Robert Lewandowski also wants Coutinho to stay and spoke about his team-mate’s excellent performance against Bremen.
“It was outstanding how he did that today,” said the Polish striker.
“We need this kind of player. I'm really happy that he showed what he is able to do.”
Alaba later commented that he wants Flick to remain in charge at the club, replying "yes" to the question of whether he would like the interim boss to stay on as head coach.
He continued: "We feel very comfortable. You can see his philosophy very well in our game.”
Bayern’s sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic is listening to his players, but says the final decision lies with the clubs management team.
"Of course, we look very closely at how we work, how the trainer works,” he said.
“Sure, players can ask for it, but in the end we [the bosses] have to decide.”
Bayern’s 6-1 win at home to Bremen moved them up to fourth in the table, six points behind leaders RB Leipzig, although Borussia Mönchengladbach, who defeated the defending champions last week, are yet to play.
It seems there is a desire at Bayern for both Coutinho and Flick to become permanent fixtures at the club, and upcoming games against Freiburg and Wolfsburg prior to the winter break could be a good opportunity for the caretaker boss to become a serious contender for the job.