Bayern banged up ahead of meeting with Real Madrid
Bayern Munich will kick-off its highly anticipated Champions League matchup with Real Madrid on Wednesday, but they could be without two important parts of their defense.
Manuel Neuer, who is out after minor foot surgery, has yet to train according to reports across Europe. That doesn’t mean he is entirely ruled out yet, but it does shed serious doubt over his availability. Neuer is already behind schedule, as it was originally announced he would miss just two Bundesliga games against Augsburg and Hoffenheim, but he couldn’t prove fit for the win over Borussia Dortmund this weekend and still has been unable to return to first-team action.
Former Stuttgart youth product Sven Ulreich has deputized in goal during Neuer’s absence, and the 28-year-old would be the man between the sticks at Allianz Arena on Wednesday should Neuer miss out. Ulreich has backed up Neuer since arriving at Bayern during the summer of 2015, but he has just seven Bundesliga appearances due to the fantastic bill of health that Neuer has benefitted from.
The other bit of injury news from Bayern could see Mats Hummels miss out in front of Neuer, with the defender pulling up lame in training on Sunday, reportedly needing a stretcher to leave the field. Hummels has been first-choice for manager Carlo Ancelotti for much of the season, but he was rested this weekend against Dortmund, coming off the bench to play the final 11 minutes. However, he’s appeared in every Champions League match for Bayern so far this season, starting in six of the eight appearances. His miss would mean Javi Martinez and Jerome Boateng would likely start, as they did against Dortmund. Versatile youngster Josh Kimmich could also start in central defense.
Despite these absences, Bayern will be considered a worthy opponent for the high-flying Real Madrid, with the German side running away with the Bundesliga title currently with a 10-point lead. The Spaniards are with both Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, with both missing out against Leganes on Wednesday due to injury, but both were able to return on the weekend in the draw with Atletico Madrid.