Manuel Neuer & James out for Bayern Munich’s title decider

NUREMBERG, GERMANY - APRIL 28: James Rodriguez of Bayern Munich plays the ball during the Bundesliga match between 1. FC Nuernberg and FC Bayern Muenchen at Max-Morlock-Stadion on April 28, 2019 in Nuremberg, Germany. (Photo by Sebastian Widmann/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Bayern Munich manager Niko Kovac confirmed that Manuel Neuer and James Rodriguez will remain sidelined for Saturday’s Bundesliga finale.

With a two-point lead over second-placed Borussia Dortmund, Bayern will host Eintracht Frankfurt needing at least a draw to win a seventh consecutive league crown.

But Eintracht also need a result this weekend as they sit just two points above Wolfsburg in sixth-place and the final automatic Europa League qualification spot in the standings.

And Kovac confirmed Bayern will once again have to make do without either goalkeeper Neuer or playmaker James due to calf injuries.

Neuer has been out of action for over a month now, while James has been struggling with calf and adductor problems across the past few weeks.

“I will not tell you who’s playing, we want to get the fans excited, it’s a final, I’m pretty sure our team will feel the extra motivation. We hope the spark will jump us over the line,” said Kovac, according to Goal.

“Javi Martinez will train again tomorrow. [Joshua] Kimmich had a reduced workload today, but everything is fine. Thiago Alcantara is doing well too and already took part in some of yesterday’s session.

MUNICH, GERMANY - APRIL 12: Mario Goetze (R) of Muenchen and Juergen Klopp, head coach of Dortmund shake hands prior to the Bundesliga match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Borussia Dortmund at Allianz Arena on April 12, 2014 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Lennart Preiss/Bongarts/Getty Images)

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“Manuel Neuer made good progress. He’s on the road to recovery, but he won’t play on the weekend. James Rodriguez is also still out.”

DUESSELDORF, GERMANY – APRIL 14: Manuel Neuer of Muenchen kneels down injured during the Bundesliga match between Fortuna Duesseldorf and FC Bayern Muenchen at Esprit-Arena on April 14, 2019 in Duesseldorf, Germany. (Photo by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images)

The Croatian coach was again questioned on his Bayern future amid reports linking Erik ten Hag to his job. The Ajax boss previously worked for Bayern’s reserves directly under Pep Guardiola.

But Kovac has no interest in such speculation over his future after enduring nearly an entire season of it.

“These are side issues that I’m not interested in,” he said.

“We now have two tasks to focus on, we could become champions, our full focus is not on what’s being told, I’m not interested.

“I have a contract that will run for another two years and I want to fulfil that, we have developed well and we only lost twice after the Dusseldorf game.”

MUNICH, GERMANY – MARCH 26: Head coach Niko Kovac (l) of Bayern Munich watches Corentin Tolisso during a training session at Saebener Strasse training ground on March 26, 2019 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Sebastian Widmann/Bongarts/Getty Images)

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