After some tough matchups against Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen, a seemingly easier opponent is coming to the Allianz Arena. Eintracht Frankfurt are tied for the worst defense in the Bundesliga and despite being a pretty decent offensive team, they will be arriving without their leading scorer.
FC Bayern Press Conference, April 10th, 2015
After the tense and long DFB Pokal game against Leverkusen, one word came up a lot: müde (tired). FC Bayern Munich's injury situation is not improving, and they have a grueling schedule in the next few weeks, so a lot of questions centered around the decimated roster and the status of various injured players. Here are the highlights of today's questions and answers (my interjections in italics):
On how tired the team is after the long DFB Pokal game - We're tired. I'm tired, but I can't play tomorrow anyway. It makes sense that we're tired after the strong game in Leverkusen. Hopefully, the head can control the legs.
On facing Eintracht Frankfurt, who didn't have to play during the week - It's a team that plays attractive football, congratulations on their season. Thomas Schaaf has a lot of experience, and he did a great job in Bremen. They're the third-highest scoring team in the league, they go forward, play the press up top. They have good players with Alexander Meier (who has been ruled out of Saturday's game with knee problems), Stefan Aigner, Marc Stendera. They have a good mindset, I think it will be a good game tomorrow.
On Bastian Schweinsteiger's availability - (There are reports that the vice-captain has some sort of cold, on top of his ankle injury) Bastian won't play.
On whether Pep is already thinking about FC Porto - A little bit. I have one eye on Porto. Normally, if we had a four or seven point lead, tomorrow's game would be the most important. But in our situation (ten point lead, and the large amount of injured players), I've never experienced anything like it as a coach or player. I have to have an eye on Porto, because if one key player can't play against them, I don't know what we're going to do. But these players are outstanding, with what they achieved in Dortmund and in Leverkusen, because right now, we're playing well, but we don't have the players that can create surprises. But they have a lot of heart, they put up a good fight. These players will do everything they can again, and I hope that the fans in the Allianz Arena can help us, even more than usual. We need their support. If we're not playing that well, they have to think about what this team has accomplished in the last three years, and in the last week.
On whether Franck Ribery will be ready for Porto - I don't know right now. He's doing better, but we can't forget that he's been out five weeks, and he's only had one practice. If will depend on the doctors and how his ankle feels. If he's fit on Monday, he will travel, but I don't know right now. Against Porto, we need players that are fit, that can play 90 minutes. In the last game against Leverkusen, Claudio Pizarro was on the bench, but he couldn't play a single minute. He was only there for support (and to fill out the roster, I'm guessing). I thought Thiago could play 30 minutes, he ended up playing 60. Holger Badstuber could only play 10 or 15 minutes. So we only have Gianluca Gaudino, Mitchell Weiser and Sebastian Rode, and now Medhi Benatia is out two to four weeks (hamstring muscle fiber tear). Our situation is critical, very critical. But, as always, we will fight to the end, for the club, for our professon, for our passion. I have a lot of confidence. Us coaches learned a lot about our players in the last two games. It doesn't matter how many players you have, as long as you have 14 players that follow the coach and the club. If that happens, you will be happy at the end, and you will have a chance to win.
On whether this is a chance for young players like Gaudino and Weiser to show what they can do - Yes. They're ready, they're always ready. I don't need to talk to them, they know our situation, at training they can look around, and realize who's missing.
On whether Jerome Boateng is fit - (Boateng was seen stretching a lot during the Leverkusen game, and getting attention from the physios, before being taken off late in overtime) I hope (Pep puts his hands together in prayer, with a little smile) I hope. No, he's ok, he trained well today, but he's still a little tired. Don't forget, a player like Juan Bernat recovers quickly, but Jerome is a big guy, he needs a little more time. But we won, and that's the best thing for the mood in the team. Don't forget, we still have to win four games in the league. Wolfsburg is not going to gift us anything, and neither will Gladbach or Leverkusen.
On how Javier Martinez is doing - His development is very good. I don't know when he will be ready, but he is very hungry. Maybe he can take part in practice with the team in two weeks, that's what I'm thinking after hearing bits and pieces from the doctors and physios. But, in the end, the doctors, the physios and Javi's knee will have the last word.
On whether Pep will rotate heavily against Frankfurt - Heavy rotation? Today I had 14 players. I really can't rotate much. Maybe Manuel Neuer can play in offensive midfield, then I'll have one more player there. Of course, I can rotate, but I don't have the players to do a lot of rotating. Sinan Kurt is sick today too, so he can't play tomorrow either.
On what is ailing Bastian Schweinsteiger - He has a problem with his ankle (thanks, Dortmund) and he has a bit of an infection here (points to his throat). I've learned here that, every day, you find out who is available, then you organize the training based on that.
On whether Pep will sub himself in - No (with a little smirk).
On what Arjen Robben's injury situation - We have to wait. When he is fit, he'll be back, but I don't know when that will happen. He will miss Porto, but he should be back sometime in the Rückrunde. Maybe, if we make it to the Champions League semifinals, he might help us there.
Disclaimer - Due to the nature of having a coach whose native language is not German, the translation of the quotes is not exactly word for word, but includes some interpretation on the part of the author of this article, in order to more accurately portray what the coach is intending to say. There is some necessary guesswork involved.