Bayern Munich may have suffered a major blow, with reports suggesting they could be without goalkeeper and captain Manuel Neuer for several months.
He will definitely miss Tuesday’s match against his former club Schalke 04 due to a foot injury sustained in training, however Bild report that he will require an operation which would leave him set for a lengthy lay-off.
The champions will also be without Arjen Robben in Gelsenkirchen due to illness.
Another break in the left foot
The injury he picked up on Monday is in the same foot that he broke a metatarsal in towards the end of last season, resulting in him missing the latter stages of the campaign and the early part of this season.
As per Bild, initial investigations at the club’s Säbener Straße base appeared to suggest that the foot was broken again, however in a brief statement on the club website, Bayern only confirmed that he will miss the Schalke match, and will “undergo a scan on Tuesday to determine the extent of the injury.”
Should the worst be confirmed, Neuer will be a massive loss at a time when the knives are already being sharpened after a number of under-par performances, despite their 4-0 win against 1. FSV Mainz 05 at the weekend.
In Sven Ulreich they have a readymade replacement, and he will no doubt start against Schalke, however he lacks the sweeping-abilities and sheer presence of the 31-year-old German World Cup winner.
Robben out as Ancelotti looks to rotate
The club also confirmed that Robben, who scored his first goal of the campaign on Saturday, will also be absent at the Veltins-Arena having been suffering with flu.
Speaking at Monday’s pre-match press conference, before the Neuer news emerged, Carlo Ancelotti also confirmed that there will be other changes to his team. “I believe rotation is important at the moment to keep the players motivated and in good form,” said the Italian, who may hand James Rodríguez a first Bundesliga start.
However he will not be making changes will upcoming games against VfL Wolfsburg and Paris Saint-Germain in mind. “We’re focused on this game, it’s an important one,” he said, adding, as if to underline the threat posed by the opposition, that “Schalke have nine points.”
Their hosts have no such problems, with Domenico Tedesco confirming that there are no fresh injury concerns following their victory over Werder Bremen, their third in four matches this season. Only Alessandro Schöpf, a former Bayern youngster, is unavailable to die Knappen.
Quotes via Bayern Munich.