Nagelsmann hints at changes as depleted Bayern prepare to host Viktoria Plzen

By Sports Desk October 03, 2022

Julian Nagelsmann may shuffle his pack for Bayern Munich's Champions League game against Viktoria Plzen on Tuesday, with the depleted Bavarians set to host Borussia Dortmund four days later.

Bayern have started their Champions League campaign with back-to-back wins over Inter and Barcelona, and lead the duo by three points at the top of Group C.

Should they record another European win at the Allianz Arena next time out, Bayern will have won their first three Champions League matches for a fourth season in succession.

On the domestic stage, however, Bayern trail surprise pace-setters Union Berlin and Freiburg after an inconsistent run of results, and host rivals Dortmund on Saturday.

With Thomas Muller and Joshua Kimmich set to miss the Plzen match after contracting COVID-19, Nagelsmann is aware of the need to manage his squad.

"We need to rotate because of Joshua and Thomas, so there are different ways, there are so many options," Nagelsmann said at his pre-match press conference.

"You'll see tomorrow which I decide. We're still in a situation where we need to grab points. 

"It's important for the Champions League to win the game against Plzen, and also to keep the rhythm for the game against Dortmund, where there might be more pressure than in the Champions League.

"Plzen like to play defensively and counter-attack, and that could be a challenge. We'll try to get into our optimum phase considering what is still ahead."

Bayern have been heavily impacted by COVID-19 recently, with Manuel Neuer and Leon Goretzka withdrawing from the Germany squad after contracting the virus last month.

Nagelsmann offered a positive update on the conditions of Muller and Kimmich, and hopes to have them back after Tuesday's match, adding: "Thomas and Joshua don't have any symptoms, they're doing well. Of course, they would love to play, but nothing has changed.

"We can do the tests on Friday and if those go well, they are candidates against Dortmund. It depends on the tests we will do.

"In general, the incidence is high in Munich so it's a factor that concerns us. We've talked with the players. 

"They've had the suggestion that they're not going to go to the Oktoberfest since the officials took part, so no partying there!

"Outside of the pitch, professional players are normal people. Everybody's looking after themselves."

Nagelsmann also revealed Kingsley Coman will not feature against Plzen despite recovering from a muscle injury, but said Serge Gnabry had his full support if selected to start out wide.

"First of all, with Kingsley, he is doing well," Nagelsmann said. "He practiced well, he was great, but he's not going to be a part of tomorrow's game.

"We'll try to heighten that [his condition] in the next couple of days and then he's an option against Dortmund, but he's not going to start, that's for sure.

"He is doing well. I have good expectations that he can fill a position in the squad against Dortmund, it would be great to have him, and not so great for the opponent.

"I haven't decided 100 per cent, but Serge is certainly a candidate there. We have to see also what we will do against Dortmund, and what happens with Thomas.

"I've known Serge for ages and I think a lot of him. He doesn't worry too much on the field and plays freely. We have a good connection with each other."

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