Munich (AP) - When replacing the irreplaceable Robert Lewandowski, Hansi Flick was just as little in the cards as in his own Bayern future.

After the symbolic birth gift of Karl-Heinz Rummenigge in London, the 55-year-old coach joked when asked when the noble ballpoint pen would be used. "My wife took it and said so that I don't do anything stupid, she'd rather take it home," said the smirking coach.

Flick spoke much more about the next title tests than about a new contract in Munich beyond the end of the season. "We focus on Hoffenheim and then we have the next game against Schalke in front of our chest," said Flick. The Bundesliga away game on Saturday (3:30 p.m. / Sky) against 1899 Hoffenheim and the quarter-finals in the DFB Cup on Tuesday at FC Schalke are the first of at least six games in which the German football champions have to do without Lewandowski.

"It is crucial that the team that we all move closer together," said Flick. He only has to do without Kingsley Coman for a few days. Niklas Süle and Ivan Perisic are missing anyway, Javi Martínez is about to return.

Lewandowski scored 39 goals in 32 season appearances in three competitions, now he has to take one of his rare breaks due to a fracture of the shin edge on the left knee joint. Since moving from Dortmund to Bayern in 2014, the Pole has only missed twelve competitive matches.

Flick highlighted the qualities of the leading player in front of the goal on Friday, as a sensational preparer and important initiator in the game against the ball. He is the only field player at FC Bayern to be irreplaceable.

"There are a lot of considerations," Flick said about the solution to the Lewandowski dilemma. There is no classic backup as a storm spike in the professional squad. The favored alternative is likely to be Serge Gnabry, once again celebrated as a London goal hero. The 24-year-old already shone as a central leader in the national team. "Serge has very good one-on-one and goal-scoring skills," said Flick.

Thomas Müller would be another option, but the vice captain is even more valuable a little further back. Joshua Zirkzee, who won as a joker in the first half of the season, is also planned for this role. "We have one option or another," said Flick. In any case, Philippe Coutinho is in the starting XI. "We hope that his knot will burst."

The simulation games after the Lewandowski retirement concern the coach in the remote duel for the German championship more than the question of their own future. CEO Rummenigge already gave a letter of intent after the 3-0 in the first knockout round of the Champions League against Chelsea when he handed the 55-year-old a pen as a special birthday present in a “red packet” at the banquet. "And with pens you sometimes also sign papers at Bayern Munich," said Rummenigge in London.

Flick didn't let himself be lured. «In the past few months, I've been doing pretty well not getting involved in such things. I have a very good line, very good contact with the club and those responsible. We are always in exchange, for me it is not an issue at all, »said the former Kovac and former Löw assistant.

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