Bayer Leverkusen vs Bayern Munich - Kovac is not underestimating Leverkusen

Posted Saturday, February 02, 2019 by PA

Bayer Leverkusen vs Bayern Munich - Kovac is not underestimating Leverkusen

Bayern Munich will go in search of an eighth consecutive Bundesliga win this weekend but manager Niko Kovac is not underestimating the threat of midtable Bayer Leverkusen.

The Bavarians have built up a head of steam in the last couple of months but are six points adrift of league leaders Borussia Dortmund ahead of the latest round of fixtures.

Kovac said on the club’s official website: “I think (Leverkusen) are a really good team. Under Peter Bosz they have a lot more fire power going forward, have a good compactness and a good offensive pressing. It will not be easy.

“We’re expecting a real fight over the weekend, we have to be very careful there and not make any easy mistakes.

“When we’re in possession we have to be careful because when there is a loose ball, they rave about like a horde of bees.”

Bayern were dealt a blow on the eve of their trip to the BayArena as club captain and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer injured his right hand in Friday’s training session and stayed in Munich rather than travel to the Rhineland.

They will continue to be without veteran wingers Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben, neither of whom have featured this year because of injury.

Bayer Leverkusen vs Bayern Munich - Kovac is not underestimating Leverkusen
Manuel Neuer suffered an injury in training on Friday (Mike Egerton/PA)

Fellow midfielder Corentin Tolisso is a long-term absentee because of a cruciate ligament rupture but he has returned to light training.

The trip to Leverkusen sees Kovac return to one of his former clubs, playing 96 times in all competitions across three seasons in the 1990s for Die Werkself.

He added: “I had three beautiful years (there). I’m looking forward to the game. It’s always a nice feeling to come back to former clubs.”

Saturday begins a sequence of three league games in the space of eight days for the defending champions but the versatile Joshua Kimmich is unfazed by the busy period.

Bayer Leverkusen vs Bayern Munich - Kovac is not underestimating Leverkusen
Franck Ribery, right, and Arjen Robben are also unavailable for the trip to the BayArena (Dave Thompson/PA)

He said: “We’ve had enough time to work on processes. I think we’re well prepared. Having games every three days is the best thing for us footballers. You don’t train a lot because you get to play the whole time.”

Leverkusen head coach Peter Bosz admitted they will need to be firing on all cylinders to end Bayern’s winning streak.

He said on his club’s website: “They have improved and play again a little better than before the winter break. They have a good team, but we also have a good team.

“If you want to achieve a good result against Bayern, then everything must work – not just the offensive or the defensive game. We will try this.

“I think we’ve been feeling confident with the last two games (a 1-0 loss to Borussia Monchengladbach followed by a 3-0 win at Wolfsburg) They are good teams but it is clear that Bavaria is again one step higher.”

Captain Lars Bender is the only absentee for Leverkusen because of a thigh injury.



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