Coutinho set for more game time in home debut for Bayern Munich
MUNICH – Brazilian star Philippe Coutinho could be given longer to impress in his home debut for Bayern Munich against Mainz on Saturday, after making a cameo appearance from the bench last week.
“We want to see to it that we give him more minutes,” Bayern coach Niko Kovac told a news conference on Thursday.
The loan signing from Barcelona played 33 minutes against Schalke, having missed some of pre-season training following the Copa America this summer.
“Our goal is to get him fit as quickly as possible,” said Kovac of the attacking midfielder.
Spanish midfielder Thiago is likely to return to the starting XI, which would free up Joshua Kimmich from midfield to play fullback.
“He will not move permanently from the right back position, he is too good for that,” Kovac said of Kimmich, who nonetheless regularly plays in the middle of the park for Germany.
Leon Goretzka is also training again after a thigh injury, while Jerome Boateng is back from illness.
Bayern trail leaders Borussia Dortmund by two points, having been held to an opening day draw by Hertha Berlin, before beating Schalke 3-0.
And Kovac warned against complacency when facing bottom club Mainz.
“We have to concentrate and stay focused,” he said. “I am expecting it to be a heated contest.”dpa