Head coach Niko Kovac fueled doubts over a Bayern Munich debut for Philippe Coutinho as he’s not in great shape at the moment.
Coutinho completed a season-long loan deal to Bayern earlier this week, with an option to make it permanent next summer. Naturally, the Barcelona playmaker’s arrival in Germany has stirred up quite a lot of interest.
The Brazil international, in particular, is keen to impress at the Allianz Arena after his disappointing spell at Barcelona.
Bayern clearly have big expectations for Coutinho, and even gave him Arjen Robben’s old No.10 jersey for the season. However, it appears that Bavarian supporters may have to wait a while to see their star arrival in action.
It turns out Coutinho is still working on gaining match-fitness following his summer exploits, which saw him help Brazil win a ninth Copa America title.
So, Kovac has implied that the 27-year-old won’t be in action for Bayern’s second Bundesliga game of the new season at Schalke 04.
“He still hasn’t got the fitness he needs, he said so today and that is our impression too,” said Kovac, according to Daily Mirror.
“We will not burn him up even though some people want us too.”
Coutinho, of course, only began training with his new team-mates on Tuesday. Not helping his preparations for this season was the uncertainty surrounding his future, which likely distracted his efforts.
Nevertheless, the former Liverpool star could still make the bench alongside fellow loan signing Ivan Perisic. The latter was suspended in Bayern’s opening day 2-2 draw with Hertha Berlin last week.
Meanwhile, club-record signing Lucas Hernandez could replace fellow new recruit Benjamin Pavard in the defence to make his Bundesliga debut.
The Schalke and Bayern match will take place at the Veltins-Arena, with kick-off set for 18:30 (CET) on Saturday.