Bayern Munich coach Niko Kovac confirmed Franck Ribery is a doubt for Tuesday’s Champions League game away to Liverpool following the birth of his daughter.
The Reds host Bayern at Anfield as the two European giants begin their knockout phase campaigns, with Bayern hoping to take a positive result back to Munich for the second leg on March 13.
But Bayern, whose form has been erratic all season, find themselves in a spot of bother due to several players being doubts or missing.
Corentin Tolisso, Arjen Robben, Renato Sanches are all out injured and Thomas Muller is suspended, while Kingsley Coman is a doubt with an ankle problem that is being monitored closely and Jerome Boateng could miss the game with a stomach virus.
On top of those issues, they are also unsure if Ribery will be in a fit state to play after being up all through the night while his wife gave birth to their daughter, and Kovac says a decision on his availability will be made on Tuesday.
— Franck Ribery (@FranckRibery) February 18, 2019
“As coach you have an idea [of your setup], then one becomes a father and the other gets sick, then you need another idea,” Kovac told reporters.
“It’s just that Ribery did not sleep at all, so we’ll have to see. I’ll talk to Franck to see how he feels, and I do not know what the answer will be when we decide tomorrow [Tuesday].
“With Jerome, we have to wait and see what the doctors in Munich say, and if not contagious, he could be an option.”
Bayern’s injury problems hardly come at a welcome moment, as Kovac accepts Liverpool were the worst possible draw at this stage for his team.
“I want to say once again, it’s the most difficult draw [for Bayern],” he added. “If you look at what Liverpool did in Champions League last season and what they are doing in the Premier League this [season], you have to say it’s the most difficult draw there is.
“The atmosphere will definitely be good, everyone knows about that, but I’m sure my players have gone through big games with great atmospheres in other stadiums, so we should be able to compete.
“In the Bundesliga we have played against two teams – Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen – who have a similar playing style and quality, but Liverpool have a higher level of pressing.
#Kovac : ” @LFC are a top side, but so are we. They will also have respect for us. The aim is of course to progress. If Liverpool give 140%, then we need 150%. It will be a real battle.” #packmas #UCL #LFCFCB pic.twitter.com/fO48oVXcTD
— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) February 18, 2019
“If Liverpool give 140 per cent, we have to give 150 per cent. With 100 per cent, it will not be enough, but I’m convinced we’ll give it everything.
“It’s an absolutely high-end match. It’s a perfect match-up game, it’s going to be a challenge, but if we tackle it together, we’ll make it [through to the next round].”
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