Kovac won't rush Neuer back from latest injury
Manuel Neuer will not be rushed back to the Bayern Munich team after his latest injury blow, says Niko Kovac.
Neuer was ruled out for two weeks after sustaining a calf injury in Bayern's last game, a Bundesliga win over Fortuna Dusseldorf.
He is therefore out for Saturday's home league game against Werder Bremen, as well as the DFB-Pokal semi-final away to the same opposition four days later.
Sven Ulreich is in line to deputise for Neuer, as he did throughout last season when the Bayern captain was sidelined long-term with a foot injury.
Kovac plans to give Neuer plenty of time to recover, while Mats Hummels and James Rodriguez are also injury doubts for the first Werder game.
"We will take no chances with Manuel, let him come back slowly," Kovac told reporters on Thursday.
"Sven absolutely has our trust. He has earned this trust, we can always rely on him. I'm very, very optimistic.
"Mats is running, he feels good, we'll see if he can play against Werder on Saturday.
#Kovac: "It's a special situation [playing Werder back-to-back], but we need to focus on the first game for now. We have a home game that we want to win. Bremen are in good form and we need to take them seriously." #packmas#FCBSVWpic.twitter.com/tosGQPXThj— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) April 18, 2019
"If he's not 100 per cent fit, he will not play, we have [Jerome] Boateng, [Niklas] Sule is suspended in the cup, so we're reliant on Mats.
"James has trouble with his adductors, he's not sure if he can play, apart from Arjen Robben all are fit.
"[Corentin] Tolisso is making great strides and we have to see if he plays this season, depending on what the others are doing."
Bayern have recorded 18 straight wins in all competitions against Bremen, who have not avoided defeat in this fixture since 2010.
Kovac's side can take a huge step towards a domestic double by extending that run further, but Kovac is demanding full focus on staying clear of title rivals Borussia Dortmund.
"We only think of the Bundesliga match against Werder," Kovac added. "The DFB-Pokal is much further away and we will draw the necessary conclusions from the first game.
"If we implement all the principles and structures, it will be very difficult to score goals against us, but that is a prerequisite: we all have to join in."