Bayern Munich manager Niko Kovac confirmed he will not rush Manuel Neuer’s recovery from his calf injury ahead of a critical period of the club’s campaign.
The German goalkeeper has been ruled out for two weeks after slipping while trying to pass the ball during Bayern’s 4-1 win over Fortuna Dusseldorf last weekend.
Therefore, Neuer will not take part in Bayern’s doubleheader with Werder Bremen in the space of four days.
The Bavarians will first play host to Werder at the Allianz Arena on Saturday needing a victory to retain their one-point lead over Borussia Dortmund at the top of the Bundesliga. They will then head out to Weserstadion for a DFB-Pokal semi-final clash next Wednesday.
But Sven Ulreich proved to be a safe pair of hands in Neuer’s absence through a foot injury for most of last season. So it seems Kovac will be no rush to force his captain into an early return.
More worryingly for Bayern, though, is the fact that key duo Mats Hummels and James Rodriguez are injury doubts for this weekend.
“We will take no chances with Manuel, let him come back slowly,” said Kovac, according to Fox Sports.
“Sven absolutely has our trust. He has earned this trust, we can always rely on him. I’m very, very optimistic.
“Mats is running, he feels good, we’ll see if he can play against Werder on Saturday.
“If he’s not 100 per cent fit, he will not play, we have [Jerome] Boateng, [Niklas] Sule is suspended in the cup, so we’re reliant on Mats.
“James has trouble with his adductors, he’s not sure if he can play, apart from Arjen Robben all are fit.
“[Corentin] Tolisso is making great strides and we have to see if he plays this season, depending on what the others are doing.”
With hopes of winning a domestic double alive, Bayern still have plenty left to play for as the season reaches its end.
But Kovac’s only concern lies with getting all three points against Werder on Saturday.
“We only think of the Bundesliga match against Werder,” he said.
“The DFB-Pokal is much further away and we will draw the necessary conclusions from the first game.
“If we implement all the principles and structures, it will be very difficult to score goals against us, but that is a prerequisite: we all have to join in.”