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New Bayern skipper Neuer to miss season opener

2017-08-17 16:07
Manuel Neuer (Getty Images)

Berlin - Bayern Munich will play their first game of the 2017/18 Bundesliga season on Friday without new captain Manuel Neuer, coach Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed.

"He will not play tomorrow. We won't take any risks," said Ancelotti ahead of the clash against Bayer Leverkusen at Munich's Allianz Arena.

Neuer, who is also Germany's captain, fractured his foot in April and although the goalkeeper has returned to training, the league opener comes too soon.

Bayern are looking to extend their own record with a sixth straight German league title, but will be missing a host of stars against Leverkusen.

Playmaker Thiago Alcantara and new-signing James Rodriguez are both sidelined with injury, as are centre-backs Jerome Boateng and Javi Martinez.

"We have injured players, but that is not a big problem," said Ancelotti.

The Italian coach hopes to have both left-back David Alaba and winger Arjen Robben fit after recovering from knocks.

Ancelotti refused to be drawn on whether new arrivals Germany international Sebastian Rudy, who came from Hoffenheim for free, or the club's record-signing Corentin Tolisso, who cost 41.5 million euros ($48.6m) from Lyon, will start.

"They could both play or they could both start on the bench. I don't look at the price tag when I decide the line-ups," quipped Ancelotti.

Leverkusen have little to lose and arrive in Munich as an unknown quantity under new coach Heiko Herrlich, the ex-Borussia Dortmund forward.

Star striker Javier Hernandez has left for West Ham, Turkish dead-ball expert Hakan Calhanoglu has joined AC Milan while key defender Omer Toprak is now at Dortmund.

It will come down to Karim Bellarabi and Kevin Volland, who are both on the fringes of the Germany team, to lead their attack.

"We're in a position to be brave out there and we want to make Bayern think 'crap, we're playing against Bayer'," said the 45-year-old Herrlich.

The Bayer boss hopes all of his squad will be fit, but teenage midfielder Kai Havertz has a knee problem and Kevin Kampl has a thigh strain.

Read more on:    bayern munich  |  bundesliga  |  manuel neuer  |  soccer
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