The form of Jerome Boateng and David Alaba means Hansi Flick is reluctant to play Bayern Munich's record signing Lucas Hernandez.
Bayern Munich's record signing Lucas Hernandez will have to wait for his chance because coach Hansi Flick prefers a settled back four.
France international Hernandez was signed from Atletico Madrid for €80million prior to this season, but the World Cup-winning defender has started just seven Bundesliga games.
Knee and ankle injuries have not helped the 24-year-old's cause, though he has been an unused substitute in the previous three Bundesliga games either side of the break enforced by the coronavirus pandemic.
David Alaba, who has been converted to a centre-back because of injuries, and Jerome Boateng have instead been at the heart of Flick's defence, with Niklas Sule also sidelined at the moment.
"David and Jerome have shown excellent performances in central defence," Flick told a news conference.
"We have the best defence in the league. Of course, Lucas is plagued by injuries. Now it is important that he shows excellent performance in training.
"I am very satisfied with his mentality, he gives always 100 per cent.
"But it is also clear that if a chain of four works well, you as a coach rely on this security. But it is clear that we need every player in our squad."
It had looked like Boateng's days in Bavaria were numbered, but Flick's appointment, initially on an interim basis in November, means he is now very much back in favour.
The 31-year-old has a contract that runs until 2021 and, having stated he believes he will fulfil that deal, Flick has praised the defender.
"He still has a year [left on his] contract, it is his decision," Flick added.
"Jerome was a German international and has now shown that he can show performance at this high level.
"He is physically fitter and has created the conditions that he currently has a regular place here. I like to work with him and he's doing very well right now."
Bayern begin the 27th round of Bundesliga fixtures with a four-point lead over Borussia Dortmund, who they will play next week after hosting Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.