As Bayern Munich enters a crucial stretch of its season, head coach Niko Kovac will have some decisions to make as he tries to navigate league contention, the DFB-Pokal, and the Champions League.
For its Champions League showdown with Liverpool, Bayern has added former Vancouver Whitecaps star Alphonso Davies and youth player Joshua Zirkzee to the roster, while dropping Sandro Wagner (transferred to Tianjin TEDA) and Franck Evina, who was loaned to Holstein Kiel.
Bayern squad changes for the #UCL knockout stages:— Jordan Maciel (@UEFAcomJordanM) February 5, 2019
➡️ Alphonso Davies, Joshua Zirkzee
⬅️ Sandro Wagner, Frank Evina
Full list: https://t.co/fZzto1zxlV #FCBLFC #LFCFCB
More urgent is Wednesday’s DFB-Pokal match with Hertha Berlin. Now, more than ever, Kovac would love to have a healthy roster. Unfortunately for the 47-year-old coach, his team is still battling some lingering injuries.
Kovac did received some good news, however, as Manuel Neuer has made enough progress to be included in tomorrow’s game day roster.
Team news! ️ @Manuel_Neuer, @Thiago6 and @FranckRibery are all in the squad and making the journey to Berlin ✈️— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) February 5, 2019
@renatosanches35, @ArjenRobben and @CorentinTolisso are staying in Munich.#DFBPokal #BSCFCB pic.twitter.com/q7PH0KAn8n
In addition to Neuer, Franck Ribery and Thiago Alcantara will each make their respective returns to the active roster. Arjen Robben and Renato Sanches, however, are both out. Robben has been battling a thigh injury and has not yet reached a stage of full recovery. As for Sanches, the Portuguese midfielder suffered a minor ankle injury on Saturday against Bayer Leverkusen and has not healed in time to make the trip to Berlin.
In a report by Sport1, Kovac detailed the decision on Robben and why he is still out. In addition, the German outlet addressed the return of Corentin Tolisso, who is making strides in his recovery from a devastating knee injury.
“Arjen broke off training yesterday and he still doesn’t feel 100% certain, so he won’t be an option tomorrow,” said coach Niko Kovac at the final press conference on Säbener Strasse.
The record champion will also have to do without Tolisso. The Frenchman has just completed his first running exercises on the grass after his injury.
In other roster-related news, the lead picture is from Tuesday’s session and features both Zirkzee and Lars Lukas Mai. Mai was on the game day roster against Bayer Leverkusen and given the news on Zirkzee’s inclusion for the Champions League, it should mean more training with the first team over the coming weeks for the 17-year-old target man.