FC Bayern Munich has to worry about goalkeeper Manuel Neuer for the top game in the Bundesliga against Bayer Leverkusen until shortly before kick-off. Coach Thomas Tuchel reported that the national player, who is suffering from knee problems, will try to get back into team training on Friday.
Neuer had taken a break so far this week or had only trained individually. Tuchel said he didn’t want to build up any pressure before the game on Saturday (6.30 p.m. in the FAZ live ticker for the Bundesliga and on Sky). “It’s Manu, we give him time until 5 p.m. on Saturday.” Then the goalkeeper will say whether he’s fit. Otherwise, substitute Sven Ullreich would move into the goal.
Tuchel is counting on Joshua Kimmich (shoulder injury) and Dayot Upamecano (torn hamstring), who were recently injured, to be able to train fully with the team again. “If nothing extraordinary happens today, both of them are firmly scheduled,” said the coach. He did not want to reveal who will start in defence, for which Minjae Kim is also available again after South Korea’s exit from the Asian Cup.
Tuchel also praised his Leverkusen colleague Xabi Alonso for his work. “Xabi’s handwriting is 100 percent recognizable,” said Tuchel. “It was an outstanding performance very early on, not just this season but since he took over. “It’s clear that there is the greatest respect, even as a coaching colleague,” said the Munich native.
Alonso came to Leverkusen in October 2022 and has now turned the then stumbling Bayer team into championship favorites. Leverkusen goes into the direct duel with a two-point lead over Bayern.
Tuchel is not surprised by the Spaniard’s impact. As an active professional footballer, Alonso “already played in such a way that you didn’t need a lot of imagination to imagine that he could also be a top coach,” recalled the Bayern coach. “Now he has committed himself to the whole thing with the same dedication.” It is therefore completely right that Leverkusen and Alonso receive “unqualified praise” for their work, said Tuchel.
A comment from Michael Wittershagen Published/Updated: , Recommendations: 11 Daniel Theweleit, Leverkusen Published/Updated: Recommendations: 6 Christopher Meltzer, Munich Published/Updated: , Recommendations: 4
Nevertheless, Bayern will do everything in their power to inflict their first defeat of the season on Bayer and push the club off the top of the table. “We are going to Leverkusen to turn the tables and put the cards on the table,” said Tuchel and wanted “a statement performance” from his protégés.