The encouraging social media post by Leon Goretzka might have delivered a little ray of hope for Bayern Munich fans. The 28-year-old midfielder posed in a photo with his right thumb up while his left hand was plastered, following a recent broken hand in a league game in Mainz.
While Goretzka nourished hopes of returning in a few weeks, the incident increased the staff shortage for the reigning German champions ahead of the UEFA Champions League group clash in Istanbul this Tuesday evening.
A challenging amount of creativity seems required for coach Thomas Tuchel, dealing with the losses of key performers such as defenders Dayot Upamecano, Raphael Guerreiro, and Noussair Mazraoui, striker Serge Gnabry, and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. Not to mention midfielder Joshua Kimmich and Dutch defender Matthijs de Ligt, who just returned from an illness and injury.
“We haven’t got many options left,” Tuchel mentioned, fueling a controversial debate about the size of his squad despite Gnabry and Mazraoui attending the team’s training session before traveling to Turkey.
For weeks, the Bayern manager unsuccessfully demanded new arrivals and kept calling the Bavarians’ squad too short.
The coach’s critics triggered a firm reaction from former Bayern president and board member Uli Hoeness, who, after stepping back into the limelight due to the leadership crisis, criticized Tuchel’s statements.
“Looking at our bench and spotting only internationals of various countries, I recon our squad as big enough,” the former German international stated. Hoeness demanded that Tuchel must accept the current situation and develop creativity based on what he called a well-equipped squad of high quality.
TV pundits like former Liverpool and Bayern midfielder Didi Hamann accused Tuchel of weakening the team’s spirits “by constantly telling them the squad isn’t big enough and is lacking quality.” While Tuchel spoke of the need to survive until the transfer window reopened in the winter break, Hoeness demanded from the coach to keep his feet behind the line.
Rumors speak of upcoming transfer activities in the next winter break. The Bayern coach played down tensions, reporting a constant opinion exchange with Hoeness and concluded, “We get things done for the benefit of the club.” While Bayern, after two victories against United (4-3) and Copenhagen (2-1), seems on track in the Champions League’s group A, the third three-pointer this Tuesday might help lift the Bavarians’ general mood.
Number one keeper Manuel Neuer is expected to get another break after he returned from a ten-month-long injury break due to a broken leg. The 2014 world champion is again going to be replaced by Sven Ulreich.
Neuer is said to return to competitive action at the end of the week in the league encounter against Darmstadt.