Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick has sympathy for Philippe Coutinho amid a difficult spell of form and insists it is down to the team to help him.

Coutinho, 27, joined Bayern on loan at the start of the season after struggling to make an impact at Barcelona, but the Brazilian has fared little better in the Bundesliga.

He has made only 12 starts in the league this term and recent speculation suggested Bayern has no plans to trigger its reported €120million purchase option.

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Barcelona apparently paid Liverpool €160m (£142m) for Coutinho in January 2018, but it is said the club is now willing to take a loss of approximately €70m to get him off its books.

Coutinho was left out of the starting XI for recent Bundesliga matches against Mainz and Schalke, while Flick accepts his display in the narrow 4-3 DFB-Pokal victory over Hoffenheim could have been better.

But the coach is sympathetic, acknowledging it can be challenging for new players to fit into a team such as Bayern's.

"It's not easy - the training sessions of Philippe have been very good lately," Flick told reporters on Friday ahead of the showdown with Bundesliga title rival RB Leipzig.

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"Of course, not everything was great against Hoffenheim, but it wasn't all bad either. I don't think he is 100 per cent satisfied with the performance he is currently showing, but he's a player of ours and we have to help him, whatever we do.

"I'm sure he'll help us a lot, so we have to wait and see. In every career there are low points and it is not so easy to fit into such a homogeneous team. He is fit and I am in a positive mood."

Joshua Kimmich recently came in for what many have perceived as criticism from club great Mehmet Scholl due to the German international's eagerness to speak his mind.

Last year, Kimmich was vocal in his defence of Manuel Neuer and urged Bayern to improve after Niko Kovac's sacking, while last month he suggested the club should dip into the transfer market to ease injury worries.

But Flick values such a forthright and open approach, convinced players who lead are not a problem.

"Mehmet and I often exchange ideas, I always find the dialogue good," Flick said. "That is his opinion now, which is often not in line with other people.

"For us, Joshua Kimmich is an important player. He has a key position and I like players who say their opinion and lead. He is on the right track and I am very satisfied with his development."