Admin l Friday, March 17, 2023
MUNICH – Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich are without injured striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting at Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday but coach Julian Nagelsmann won’t be resting any players who could face suspension for the next game against title rivals Borussia Dortmund.
Nagelsmann told reporters on Friday that a back injury means that Choupo-Moting “definitely can’t play” because “he couldn’t train either.”
But Nagelsmann hopes to have him back during the international break to be fit for the April 1 showdown with Dortmund.
Bayern are two points clear at the top but Dortmund could dethrone them for at least 24 hours if they beat Cologne on Saturday.
Bayern don’t want to slip up ahead of the big game against Dortmund as Nagelsmann vowed: “Our aim is to beat Leverkusen. We can’t relax. I will use our in-form players, regardless of a potential ban for five yellow cards.
“You can’t always avoid a yellow card but my players are intelligent enough.”
Sadio Mane is expected to take Choupo-Moting’s place in Bayern’s attack like in last week’s 5-3 against Augsburg in the trip to Leverkusen who have improved from a poor start under coach Xabi Alonso, a former Bayern midfielder.
Bayern board member for sport Hasan Salihamidzic named Sunday’s game “very important” ahead of a string of key mnatches against Dortmund and fifth-placed Freiburg in the league plus the difficult Champions League quarter-final against Manchester City under ex-Bayern coach Pep Guardiola.
“We are ahead in the Bundesliga now. The Dortmund game will be very important. I hope that everyone comes back healthy from the national teams. Now come decisive weeks. April is a tough month. Now we want to start successfully against Leverkusen,” he said.