Created on 14-09-2018 at 15:25 PM by Redaktion
After two weeks without club football, FC Bayern are finally back in action again on Saturday when they host Bayer Leverkusen at the Allianz Arena in the Bundesliga (kick-off 15:30 CEST, coverage available via our live ticker). The game also signals the start of an intense period of the season that sees the Reds play seven matches in the space of 22 days.
“It’s great when you play every three days. You don’t have to do much for motivation and you don’t need to worry about a big build-up because the excitement is already there,” enthused Niko Kovac at his press conference ahead of the Leverkusen match. However, plenty of games also means plenty of work for the 46-year-old. “We have to analyse things quickly and also prepare for other games at the same time,” the head coach continued.
All fit except Coman
It’s a good thing, then, that he doesn’t have to concern himself too much with personnel problems. Apart from the already injured Kingsley Coman, all players have returned from the international break “fit and healthy. No one has any physical problems, so we’re under no pressure to rotate.” Whether Kovac will look to make changes to the team that started the 3-0 win in Stuttgart, he didn’t want to say. “We’ve got a high workload in the coming weeks,” he explained. And despite the coming Champions League match at Benfica on Wednesday, the Croatian is fully focussed on the clash with Leverkusen.
“You’ve already got the following games in mind, but this match is important to make sure we get back into a rhythm,” Kovac stressed while giving a clear objective for the weekend: “We’re top of the table and want to remain there.” To do that he wants to “prepare my team so they know everything about the opposition.” However, he didn’t want to dwell too long on the Werkself’s current position in the table.
Bayer looking for relief
Leverkusen may have lost their opening two games, but Kovac stated, “I know what they’re capable of. I’m expecting a tough fight.” And that is exactly what his opposite number wants to see from his side. “Mentality, desire and an absolute will to win this game,” coach Heiko Herrlich demanded of his team. And even with the poor start, Julian Brandt believes his side have a chance.
“No one is backing us, but we can hurt Bayern,” the Germany international claimed. The visitors are set to be without Charles Aranguiz (knee) but should have Lars Bender and goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky available to them once more. The former Frankfurt shot-stopper is in line for his Leverkusen debut up against his former coach.