Bayern Munich boss Jupp Heynckes has confirmed recovering duo Thomas Muller and Franck Ribery will not be risked in Saturday’s derby with Augsburg as the champions look to continue their impressive revival under the veteran coach.
Heynckes has led Bayern to seven consecutive victories in all competitions since replacing the sacked Carlo Ancelotti at the start of October for his fourth stint in charge of the club.
The 72-year-old has achieved much of that success without two of the team’s star names, with Germany forward Muller absent for the last four matches with a muscle tear, while France winger Ribery has not played since October 1 due to a knee injury,
Both players have now returned to training but neither will face Augsburg, where a victory would see Bayern become the first club to break the 3,000-point milestone in Bundesliga history.
Heynckes said of the duo on his club’s website: “I won’t take any risks with them.”
Thiago is also set to be absent after suffering a knee injury while away with Spain but Juan Bernat could make his first appearance of the season while David Alaba and Jerome Boateng are also set to be available.
Bayern’s rebirth under Heynckes has seen them open up a four-point lead over Leipzig at the top of the Bundesliga, while Saturday’s opponents Augsburg are 10 points adrift in 10th spot.
Augsburg were also thrashed 6-0 in their last visit to the Allianz Arena – Robert Lewandowski scoring a hat-trick and Muller netting twice in April – but Heynckes is not expecting it to be another comfortable afternoon this weekend.
He said: “It won’t be an easy task. They’re a very well-assembled team.
“I’m very impressed with how structured their play is. They have a very clear plan, are incredibly ambitious, very hardworking and aggressive. I think we need to be well prepared for this match.”
Bayern chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is also demanding no let-up from the reigning champions, saying: “We still have two-thirds of the season to go.
“It’s no good putting our arms around each other and celebrating seven wins in a row. We need to pick up from where we left off before the international break.”
Augsburg’s 6-0 loss in April was part of miserable sequence of results against their neighbours, with Bayern having won 13 of 15 meetings between the two down the years.
However, Augsburg’s record of 16 points from 11 matches this season is their best start to a top-flight campaign and goalkeeper Marwin Hitz is in optimistic mood ahead of the trip to Munich.
He said on www.fcaugsburg.de: “We’ve already done well against the other top teams, which has been a big boost to our confidence.
“We’ve had a good run lately. When we stick to the plan that the coach has given us, things will turn out much better than last time out.”
Augsburg boss Manuel Baum is without injured duo Martin Hinteregger and Sergio Cordova.