Injury-hit Bayern Munich travel to Liverpool as underdogs

Jerome Boateng and Franck Ribery were the biggest names missing when the team flew out of Munich on Monday.

Published: 18th February 2019 07:26 PM  |   Last Updated: 18th February 2019 07:26 PM   |  A+A-

Jerome Boateng, Ribery

Bayern will be hoping that the injury bug doesn't bite again | AFP

By AFP

MUNICH: Bayern Munich jetted to Liverpool for Tuesday's Champions League, last-16 first leg without centre-back Jerome Boateng and hoping French winger Kingsley Coman will be fit.

Boateng is out with an upset stomach, leaving Mats Hummels to partner Niklas Suele at Anfield.

Boateng and Franck Ribery were the biggest names missing when the team flew out of Munich on Monday.

Ribery, 35, who could replace Coman if he fails to recover from an ankle injury, is expected to travel separately after becoming a father for the fifth time on Sunday night.

Bayern's main concern is Coman, who was outstanding in Friday's 3-2 win at Augsburg, equalising twice and then setting up David Alaba for the winning goal, only to limp off late on with an ankle injury.

"It looks quite positive, the ankle is a bit better," said sports director Hasan Salihamidzic on Monday, despite Bayern having passed Coman fit to play two days before.

"We still have 36 hours and things can change, I can't say more."

Coman's injury is of particular concern after only returning in December from four months out with torn ligaments in the same left ankle.

"It would be annoying not to have him, he brings a different dynamic to our game," admitted Bayern head coach Niko Kovac on Friday.

Bayern, currently second in the Bundesliga, are happy to hand the favourites' tag to Premier League title-chasing Liverpool, but are confident.

"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."

This will be the Bavarian giants' first match at Anfield since the 1981 European Cup semi-finals, when Liverpool went through on away goals after a goalless draw and beat Real Madrid in the final.

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