Bayern Munich need at least one goal against resilient Atletico Madrid tomorrow if they want to reach another Champions League final but at the same time they have to keep a clean sheet. In this respect the return of Germany defender Jerome Boateng from three months on the sidelines with a groin injury is more than welcome, given Bayern’s at times vulnerable back line.
Boateng played 68 minutes in Saturday’s 1-1 Bundesliga draw with Borussia Moenchengladbach which delayed Munich league title celebrations.
Coach Pep Guardiola must now decide whether or not to let him start against the likes of Antoine Griezmann and first-leg scorer Saul Niguez when Bayern aim to overturn a 1-0 deficit against Atletico.
The Sueddeutsche Zeitung said Sunday Boateng had “a decent but not fully convincing comeback” while Kicker sports magazine said on its website “it is not clear” after the Gladbach game whether Boateng can help the team tomorrow.
Bayern have had some woes in the heart of defence, with Holger Badstuber is out on another long-term injury and Medhi Benatia far from his best. For several weeks Guardiola fielded midfield youngster Joshua Kimmich and full back David Alaba as central defenders.
Guardiola’s preferred pairing would be Boateng and Javi Martinez, who returned from injury a few weeks ago and was rested Saturday along with the likes of captain Philipp Lahm, forward Robert Lewandowski, Arturo Vidal and Douglas Costa.
Boateng admitted that he played a few poor passes but was satisfied overall with his comeback and said he was ready for Tuesday. “I was happy to be back on the pitch ... I am very satisfied and looking forward to Tuesday. That game will have a different pace but I will try to give it all I have if I play,” Boateng said. Guardiola chose a three-man defence Saturday “to help Jerome” but had to realise that “he wasn’t able to play over 90 minutes.”
The coach also said “I must protect him” and will not make up his mind until he sees how Boateng fares in the final training sessions. For Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge meanwhile “the most important thing is that he (Boateng) is ready” as Bayern hope to keep alive their bid for a title treble.
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