Bayern Munich – Frankfurt Preview: Benatia joins growing list of absentees for Guardiola

The champions are out to maintain their title charge despite the defender picking up another injury to accompany Arjen Robben and David Alaba on the sidelines


Despite their injury troubles and packed fixture list, Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola will expect his team to produce another professional performance when the Bundesliga leaders host Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.

Guardiola was calmness personified during Bayern’s DFB-Pokal quarter-final win at Bayer Leverkusen in midweek. The Spaniard sat back on a folding chair as his team experienced the drama of a penalty shootout at the BayArena.

Perhaps inspired by the former Barcelona boss, Bayern kept their cool to triumph 5-3.

Although the Bavarians are missing a number of key players, Guardiola will want his men to display the same mental strength against Frankfurt as they close in on a third straight Bundesliga crown.

And midfielder Sebastian Rode is aware of the importance of Bayern’s resilience.

He said: “As everyone’s seen, we can still win important games even with all our injuries. We have to come through with passion and fighting spirit.”

That spirit may be especially significant with Bayern seeing defender Medhi Benatia suffer a hamstring injury against Leverkusen. The defender joins Arjen Robben (stomach) and David Alaba (knee) on the sidelines while Bastian Schweinsteiger (ankle) sat out the Pokal fixture and remains a doubt.

However, there has been some good news for Bayern on the injury front, with the club confirming winger Franck Ribery has been doing running exercises following an ankle problem.

It remains to be seen if Ribery will be deemed fit enough for a place in the squad at the Allianz Arena with a Champions League trip to Porto on the horizon on Wednesday.

Even if he misses out, Bayern should still have enough to see off a Frankfurt side still in contention for a Europa League spot.

Frankfurt, who are four points adrift of sixth-placed Augsburg in ninth, have not beaten Bayern away from home since 2000, when they won 2-1 at the Olympiastadion.

And coach Thomas Schaaf knows it will take a perfect performance in order for the visitors to take all three points.

“In the first game we did pretty well against Bayern over long periods, but could not, unfortunately, impose our game over 90 minutes,” Schaaf told Frankfurter Neue Presse.

“Our tactic is first of all to play well. We need to apply our skills to make our opponents’ life as difficult as possible. We want to realise a lot of our strengths. If we do that, we have also shown a good game and performed well.

“If we play perfectly, we certainly have the opportunity for three points.”