Pep Guardiola plans to rest Manuel Neuer

Photo credit: AFP.

Photo credit: AFP.

Bayern Munich will be without Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer for Wednesday’s Champions League clash at Dinamo Zagreb, with Pep Guardiola’s Bavarian giants already in the knockout phase. Guardiola has opted to rest Neuer, with former Stuttgart goalkeeper Sven Ulreich due to play only his second competitive game for the German champions.

“Manu has played all the games this season, not only for Bayern Munich, but also for the national team,” said Guardiola ahead of the flight to Zagreb.

“We are already through, so I want to see Sven play and give Manu a little break.”

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Bayern are looking for a convincing win after their shock 3-1 defeat at Borussia Moenchengladbach on Saturday which saw them lose their unbeaten record in Germany’s top flight.

“We want to do a few things better and, in any case, to win,” said Germany forward Thomas Mueller.

Guardiola said the goal is to finish the group stages with another win.

“This is the Champions League, not a friendly game,” said Guardiola.

“I expect the best from my players.

“If I see tomorrow that one of my players isn’t concentrating then we will have a problem.”

Guardiola has included Spain midfielder Thiago Alcantara for the first time since injury last month. France winger Franck Ribery is also set to feature having scored the consolation goal in Gladbach on his first appearance for Bayern since March after an ankle injury.

Alongside Neuer, Guardiola will be without six key players including defender Holger Badstuber, who is suspended, while David Alaba, Juan Bernat, Douglas Costa, Mario Goetze and Arjen Robben are all injured.

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Bayern defender Rafinha used his new German passport for the first time on the flight to Zagreb since qualifying for citizenship.

“I have wanted one for a while, I have been in Germany for ten years now,” said Rafinha.

“I wanted to do it for my family and me.”

Despite playing two friendlies for Brazil, Rafinha could qualify now for the German team.

“I want to concentrate on my football with Bayern Munich then we’ll see what the future holds,” he said.

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