Bayern Munich manager Thomas Tuchel said Friday his undermanned side needed to “be clever” against Borussia Dortmund in Saturday’s meeting between two teams unbeaten in the league.
Tuchel’s side have been hit hard by injuries and suspensions, with the coach promising he would make “very, very late decisions” on his squad for the game.
A knee injury to centre-back Matthijs de Ligt in Wednesday’s surprise German Cup elimination at third division club Saarbruecken put Tuchel’s struggling defence under more strain.
French international centre-back Dayot Upamecano, who has missed four matches with a hamstring injury, may return for the game.
Tuchel also indicated that midfielder Leon Goretzka, who underwent surgery on a broken hand less than two weeks ago, was a candidate to play centre-back.
“If Upa (Upamecano) can’t play, then Leon will. If Leon can’t, then Upa will. We will have to wait and see.”
Midfielder Joshua Kimmich is out through suspension, while former Dortmund defender Raphael Guerreiro is unlikely to be fit in time as he recovers from a torn muscle.
England captain Harry Kane, who sat on the bench in Wednesday’s loss, is fit to play and will start for Bayern.
The forward has an impressive 14 goals in 13 games in all competitions since moving from Premier League side Tottenham in the summer.
Bayern’s only two losses this season — in the Supercup against Leipzig and versus Saarbruecken on Wednesday — have come with Kane on the bench.
Dortmund manager Edin Terzic said Friday “it will be difficult to stop Harry Kane… we need to do it as a team, as a group, with good positioning.”
“He not only scores goals, but he sets them up as well,” Terzic said, pointing to Kane’s five assists in the league this season.
Bayern currently sit second in the table behind leaders Bayer Leverkusen, two points ahead of Dortmund who are in fourth.
Tuchel said that “despite the importance of the match”, it was “not a Champions League semi-final” and he would not take any risks.
“We’ve got to think about the season as a whole” Tuchel said, promising he would “weigh everything up.”
Tuchel said Bayern would show a “reaction” to the cup exit on Saturday, saying to be eliminated so early “is against the law” at the club.
Terzic said on Friday he also expected Bayern to react, telling reporters “I’ve rarely seen Bayern have two bad games in a row.”
“Against us they’re always sharper than against other opponents.”
While Dortmund sporting director Sebastian Kehl said on Wednesday the fixture was “the biggest game we have in Germany”, his side have failed to beat Bayern in the league since 2018.
Last season’s 2-2 draw in Dortmund ended a series of nine straight league wins for Bayern.
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