Hernandez in race to reach Germany for Champions League tie

Madrid (AFP) – Centre-back Lucas Hernandez was dashing to Germany on Tuesday in a desperate bid to make kick-off for Atletico Madrid’s Champions League clash at Bayer Leverkusen after being released by a court.

Hernandez and his girlfriend pleaded not guilty to domestic violence in a Madrid court earlier on Tuesday before the case was adjourned.

That allowed Frenchman Hernandez, 21, to board a plane in Madrid bound for Germany in a bid to make the 1945 GMT kick-off at the BayArena for the last 16 first leg tie.

Atletico desperately need Hernandez, who has been deputising in the centre of defence for the injured Diego Godin.

The Frenchman was arrested earlier this month after his girlfriend was taken to hospital following an altercation between the pair.

Neither party made a complaint against the other but both were charged with domestic violence and Spain’s public prosecutor asked for a seven-month prison sentence for Hernandez — although even then he would unlikely spend any time behind bars as sentences under two years are normally suspended for first-time offenders in Spain.