Reuters /Liverpool, England
Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery will join the team for their Champions League last 16 first leg at Liverpool yesterday but it is unclear whether he will be fit to play, coach Niko Kovac said yesterday. The French winger became a father overnight and did not travel with Bayern earlier yesterday to Liverpool. Instead he will arrive later in the day, Kovac told reporters. “He practically did not sleep so we will have to see,” the coach said.
Bayern are already without defender Jerome Boateng but Kingsley Coman could get the green light to play after overcoming an ankle injury from Friday’s win over Augsburg in the Bundesliga. The speedy 22-year-old scored twice in that game before his late injury and the Bavarians desperately need his recent good scoring form against the Premier League club at Anfield. “It is getting better by the hour,” Kovac said. “He must be absolute pain-free to play and we are confident that our medical team can get it done for tomorrow.” Bayern are second in the Bundesliga behind Borussia Dortmund at the moment but they progressed to the knockout stage top of their Champions League group and unbeaten. “Liverpool are a top side, but so are we,” Kovac said. “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.”
“Liverpool are having a very strong season,” said winger Serge Gnabry. “So it’s in order that they are favourites. We have our strengths, we’re FC Bayern and anything is possible.”
However, veteran Dutch winger Arjen Robben, who misses the match with a thigh injury, has seen enough to know what lies in store for Bayern. “Everybody knows the atmosphere at Anfield is probably one of the best you can imagine in Europe, so that’s something you have to be aware of,” former Chelsea player Robben told the Daily Mail.
“But I think we’re used to it, playing in big stadiums like that... In these top games there are not a lot of secrets. It’s about little details and about just who has the best form that day.”
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