Flick hopeful Coutinho will be fit to play for Bayern again this season after ankle injury reports

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Hans Flick has expressed his hope that Philippe Coutinho will be fit to play again for Bayern Munich this season amid reports of a setback in his recovery from ankle surgery.

Coutinho joined Bayern on loan from Barcelona last summer, after a disappointing first season at Camp Nou following his big-money move from Liverpool in January 2018.

The 27-year-old hasn't quite managed to rediscover his best form at the Allianz Arena, but has shown flashes of the brilliance which saw him emerge as one of the finest midfielders in Europe during his five-year spell at Anfield.

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The Brazil international has scored eight goals and laid on nine assists in 32 appearances across all competitions for Bayern, helping them rise to the top of the Bundesliga once again while also progressing in both the Champions League and DFB Cup.

Unfortunately, the team's impressive run was halted by the coronavirus pandemic, which caused all major European leagues to shut up shop in accordance with new government legislation regarding social distancing.

The Bayern squad were forced into quarantine in March, and Coutinho has spent most of his time in self-isolation recovering from an ankle injury.

The former Liverpool star went under the knife in April, before a 14-day timescale was put on his rehabilitation, but Mundo Deportivo have reported that he could be out of action for a further six weeks.

Such a scenario would see Coutinho miss the remainder of the Bundesliga season, with Bayern set to return to the pitch against Union Berlin next Sunday. However, Flick has delivered a positive update on the Brazilian playmaker's progress, insisting he could still play a key role in the club's assault on three trophy fronts.

"Maybe he [Coutinho] can still be there in the final games of the season," the Bayern boss told Kicker.

Regardless of whether Coutinho is able to return in time for the end of the campaign, it has been reported that Bayern will not take up the option to sign him permanently in the summer transfer window.

Thiago is still hopeful that the Barca outcast will remain at the Allianz Stadium though, having been impressed by the impact he's had over the past 10 months.

The Bayern star told La Vanguardia of his team-mate: "He lacks nothing. I like to play with players at a top level and he's a phenomenon. He's a great guy, really hard working, with unbeatable technique and incredible finishing. Players go through good moments and some not so good ones and he brings us a lot. We hope he's here next season too."

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