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    Injured Neuer misses start of week of truth


    FC Bayern before Leverkusen hit
    Injured Neuer misses start of week of truth

    Manuel Neuer has to sit out FC Bayern's preparations for Leverkusen. A new signing is also missing. With two injured players, coach Tuchel can hope for a return. Will the coach take a risk and let Bayern be caught off guard like BVB did in October?

    The birthday parade for Leon Goretzka took place without the injured Manuel Neuer. The national goalkeeper was not on the training pitch at the start of preparations for the Bundesliga top match at Bayer Leverkusen. According to Bayern, the captain had to take a break after two days off due to only “minor” knee problems – the 37-year-old is determined to be between the posts in the crucial league summit on the Rhine.

    “A big highlight,” said Neuer about the game with a final feel, in which the Munich team hopes to take the lead in the table with a win. Neuer made his comeback at the end of October after a long injury break following a broken lower leg. Sven Ulreich impressed as a substitute. He would also be the replacement for the weekend in the event of Neuer being unable to play.

    Whether Dayot Upamecano (torn left thigh muscle) and Joshua Kimmich (shoulder injury), who are working on their comeback, will be available for Saturday’s match (6.30 p.m./Sky and in the live ticker on It is still unclear whether they will be able to take a place in the squad. Coach Thomas Tuchel was able to observe promising movements from the two key players during the next individual training session at the club. Kimmich also paid attention to the injured shoulder.

    BVB was overwhelmed with returnees

    Will Tuchel take the same risk as in the Dortmund game, when the shortage of players was even more serious? Before the first half of the season against Borussia, Upamecano (thigh strain) and Goretzka (broken hand) were out. Both of them managed a 0-to-100 start – and Bayern won 4-0 in early November. This time, Goretzka, who was in good spirits in the Munich sunshine on his 29th birthday, can look forward to the next top game in a healthier state.

    Whether midfield leader Kimmich and central defender Upamecano will really be an alternative for the squad or even more depends on further training impressions and the time of the return to team training. Tuchel had announced a decision for “midweek”.

    The 50-year-old Munich coach has had enough absences to complain about in recent weeks. He will have to do without Alphonso Davies, Kingsley Coman, Konrad Laimer, Bouna Sarr, substitute goalkeeper Daniel Peretz and Serge Gnabry in the BayArena. Central defender Minjae Kim is still missing because of the Asian Cup participation with South Korea. The offensive player Bryan Zaragoza, signed from FC Granada, had to sit out on Tuesday due to a flu infection, but should be able to be in the squad if he recovers normally.

    Talent transferred to Austria

    “Everyone who wears the Bayern jersey is waiting for games like this,” said Neuer recently. “The anticipation is great.” Serial champions like him or Thomas Müller in particular know what qualities are important in these duels. “The game against Leverkusen is a cracker. These are real weeks of truth,” announced Müller. Next week is the first leg of the round of 16 against Lazio Rome.

    But first of all, the league counts. In the table, the Munich team is second, two points behind Leverkusen, who are still unbeaten in this Bundesliga season. “Leverkusen are playing an outstanding round, but when they look in the rearview mirror, they are only two points ahead. We are there, and we want to prove it,” said Tuchel.

    Frans Krätzig is no longer part of the team. The left-back was loaned to Austria Vienna on Tuesday until the summer. The 21-year-old is expected to gain match practice there.

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