(Reuters) – Bayern Munich will field a heavily-rotated lineup against Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League, coach Julian Nagelsmann said on Monday as he casts one eye on their crucial Bundesliga clash against Borussia Dortmund this weekend.
Bayern are already without regulars Joshua Kimmich and Thomas Mueller after they tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend while Lucas Hernandez and Bouna Sarr are out injured.
Nagelsmann’s side are top of Group C after a perfect start to their Champions League campaign but the 35-year-old coach is focused on the Bundesliga where the holders are third with 15 points — the same as fourth-placed Dortmund.
“It’s extremely important for the Champions League to win the game and keep the rhythm for Dortmund… I expect our opponents to defend deep,” Nagelsmann told reporters ahead of Tuesday’s home game against bottom side Plzen.
“In the Bundesliga we are under even more pressure than in the Champions League. We are still in the situation of having to get points.
“We have to rotate a little bit, but we won’t make wholesale changes. We have options, we could make early changes or adjust the starting 11. We’ll see tomorrow what I decide.”
Nagelsmann said Serge Gnabry, who is not a regular starter this season, could play while 20-year-old Dutch international Ryan Gravenberch was also an option.
“The important thing for me with Ryan, as with (17-year-old) Mathys Tel, is to see their age and what can be asked of them,” Nagelsmann said.
“Ryan knows what areas he needs to improve to fit more stably into the structure. It’s possible that he will start tomorrow, he has made a good impression the past few days. Ryan enjoys my trust as much as anyone else.”
Nagelsmann said winger Kingsley Coman, who has returned from a muscle injury, is not ready for the game against Plzen but could be in the squad against Dortmund.
He added that Kimmich and Mueller, who are both asymptomatic, could also play Dortmund if they test negative on Friday.
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)