Saturday, December 4, 2021

Lucas Hernandez injury adds to Bayern selection woes

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 23 Nov 2021

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Lucas Hernandez sustained an injury in Bayern Munich’s win over Dynamo Kiev on Tuesday, further depleting a squad Julian Nagelsmann described as “on a knife-edge”.

Bayern headed to Dynamo for their fifth Champions League group game of the season without five first-team players who were forced into quarantine following close contact with a person who tested positive for coronavirus.

A vaccine debate has raged around Bayern in recent weeks, but Nagelsmann’s side were able to maintain their 100 per cent European record this term – just the third time they have made such a start since 2003-04 – with a 2-1 success that secured their place at the top of Group E.

Robert Lewandowski broke the deadlock with a sensational overhead kick, extending his scoring run in the Champions League to nine straight matches – making him the first player to enjoy such a sequence twice (also in 2019-20).

That goal was also Lewandowski’s 25th of the season already in all competitions, nine more than any other player across Europe’s big five leagues.

Kingsley Coman added a second – Bayern’s 19th goal through matchday five, the third-most in a Champions League group stage – before Denys Harmash replied for Dynamo after half-time.

Bayern were on the back foot for much of the second period, but they were playing without Hernandez, who was replaced by right-back Bouna Sarr at the break.

“In the end, we gritted our teeth well, and it was an important victory,” Nagelsmann said.

“In general, it wasn’t an easy game, also considering the circumstances. Not just the pitch conditions, but also our squad situation, which was already on a knife-edge before the game.

“During the interval, we had to change what we were doing because Luci [Hernandez] had to come off injured and we didn’t have a third centre-back. We took a while to readjust to the change and we were a bit too passive.

“However, we had two or three good opportunities to transition into counters, but our final ball wasn’t right. The third goal would have finished the game off.

“The goal we conceded was a bit annoying. We still have a long way to go. We have to be more stable, especially against opposition like today’s.”

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