Kovac: It'll be a fierce battle

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Niko Kovac is expecting a "fierce battle" in Saturday's top clash between RB Leipzig and FC Bayern. The FCB head coach was full of respect for the Bulls but also confident: "Leipzig have made enormous progress over the last few years, but we've grown too. It'll be tight."

Bayern, who are two points short of Leipzig, aim to claim top spot in the table on Saturday and "consolidate our position during the phase of midweek matches." Kovac had good news: "All national team players have returned healthy." The 47-year-old has almost the entire squad at his disposal, although Leon Goretzka will miss the match after his thigh surgery. "Leon is feeling good, he's glad he's taken this step. We hope he'll be back as soon as possible. But it's too early to make exact predictions."

Alphonso Davies and Philippe Coutinho are only due back from national team duty in the course of Thursday. The starting line-up depends on fitness levels after the international break: "We need fit players and we'll talk to the lads. Besides Coutinho and Davies, other players have contested intense matches too."

One of the keys to success will be to find an answer to Leipzig's pressing game on Saturday. "In their early matches there were periods when they pressed high up the field, but also periods when they dropped deep. We must prepare for this combination." Kovac expects Leipzig to "push us to our limits. But we're the reigning champions, and we'll travel to Leipzig with confidence."

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