Created on 22-08-2019 at 14:29 PM
Niko Kovac will be without Leon Goretzka and Fiete Arp when FC Bayern travel to face FC Schalke on Saturday evening. Besides, Jérôme Boateng is "likely to miss" Bayern's second Bundesliga match because he was unable to train on Wednesday and Thursday due to illness.
The clash with the Ruhr valley outfit comes too early for new signing Philippe Coutinho, who "hasn't participated in many training sessions so far" because he featured in the Copa América. "We want to get him fit first and not take any risks so he can play to his full potential," Kovac said about the Brazil international: "He's a world-class footballer and a very modest young man. We want to integrate him into the team."
Ivan Perišić "is an option, maybe from the start," Kovac commented. After serving a one-match ban, the Croatian World Cup runner-up is eligible to play. "He's at the same fitness level as our other players because he took up training earlier than Philippe. I'm very glad we have him." Michaël Cuisance too has been training for a while now.
Lucas Hernández "has only played two minutes so far, which isn't a lot. We're trying to integrate him into the team," said the Bayern head coach, voicing praise for the defender: "He works hard, he's a great guy." Kovac has "more options" on Saturday thanks to another new signing: Benjamin Pavard "has turned in great displays so far. He can play as a full-back and in the centre of defence. I'm very satisfied with him."
Bayern aim to take the first three points this season after last week's draw against Hertha, where Kovac saw a "good performance, only the result wasn't right." The 47-year-old issued a warning against the Royal Blues under new coach David Wagner: "Schalke are aggressive, they're strong in defence and at turnovers. We must be prepared. It'll be the first home match for their new coach." But Bayern "always want to win," and they have the means to do it: "We have a good squad in terms of both quality and quantity."