Neuer, Alaba Don't Travel to Braunschweig; Thiago Could Be Fit for Cup Final
Pep Guardiola revealed in his pre-match press coference that both Manuel Neuer and David Alaba have stayed behind in Munich and will not be available for Bayern Munich's match against Eintracht Braunschweig. Neuer is still recovering from a calf injury he suffered against Borussia Dortmund, while Alaba is on antibiotics for a cold.
"We are just 14 players. No rotation tomorrow," Guardiola said. "The best players will play, as the manager justly thinks." [Abendzeitung]
Lukas Raeder and Ylli Sallahi are likely the first to consider as replacements, with Diego Contento (ankle) and Tom Starke (elbow) also unavailable. Both Guardiola and Neuer are hopeful that the Bayern and Germany No. 1 will play in the UEFA Champions League Semifinal on Wednesday against Real Madrid.
"I feel very good," said Neuer. "I expect that I'll be able to play on Wednesday" [fcbayern.de]
Media Director Markus Hörwick also hinted that Thiago Alcântara, out since the end of March with a ligament tear in his knee, is progressing according to plan.
"Perhaps he can play a roll in Berlin," said Guardiola, reffering to the DFB-Pokal final next month.
Guardiola: "Sammer has a big nose"
His views might be a bit aggressive and he may be critical of Bayern to the press, but Matthias Sammer has Guardiola's full blessling.
"Matthias has a big nose; he analyzes the team and the manager," said Guardiola in his press conference. "His word is always there to support us and help us. We talk a lot with each other. He wants to help and we accept everything."
Cruyff wants Guardiola back at Barça
Barcelona manager Gerardo "Tata" Martino has come under fire after possibly his worst week in charge of Barcelona. The Blaugrana have eliminated themselves from all three domestic and international competitions last week, which means Martino could be out of a job by summertime.
The next in line? Former Barcelona player and manager Johan Cruyff told Mundo Deportivo that Guardiola should retake the helm.
"The best thing for Barca would be for Guardiola to come back," Cruyff said. "He is a magnificent coach and there is nobody better. If [former president Joan] Laporta is president again I am going to say that the best thing would be to sign Pep, and as he is an intelligent person, I am sure he will do that." [ESPN FC]
Cruyff's comments are most likely in response to Guardiola saying on Wednesday that he would leave the club on good terms if they did not want him. Considering the first-year manager said he wants to be present for Uli Hoeneß's return, there is little doubt that Pep is going anywhere.
Rummenigge: "I hope Ronaldo plays"
While Bayern München vs. Real Madrid is a showcase of showcases, one of the biggest players has a huge question mark on his back where the number seven should be.
Cristiano Ronaldo missed the Copa del Rey Final, further casting doubt over whether he will be available for the midweek clash against Bayern. Karl Heinz Rummenigge has joined a majority of Madrid in their hopes that CR7 will take the Santiago Bernabéu pitch on Wednesday.
"I hope that he will play because I enjoy it when the best players are on the field, and he is, as according to FIFA, the best player in the world," said Rummenigge [Bild]
Ronaldo does not know himself if he will be back in time for the Bayern tilt, although he might return to action soon.
"I'm getting better, now I don't feel any pain," he told Real Madrid's official website after the Copa del Rey victory. "I might be back in time for next Wednesday or perhaps the second leg of our Champions League tie. Bit by bit I'm feeling better and what I want more than anything is to be able to help the team out as soon as possible".