Berlin (AFP) – Celtic were handed a boost ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League match at home to Bayern Munich as the Germans’ star striker Robert Lewandowski was ruled out by injury.
The 29-year-old hot-shot injured his left thigh in the first half of Bayern’s 2-0 win over RB Leipzig on Saturday and stayed in Munich when the squad flew to Scotland on Monday.
Lewandowski is Bayern’s top scorer this season with 13 goals.
Second-placed Bayern need a win in Glasgow to keep the pressure on Group B leaders Paris Saint-Germain, who are three points clear at the top, while Celtic are third.
Head coach Jupp Heynckes had hoped Lewandowski would be able to play at Parkhead but took the decision to rest the Poland international ahead of Saturday’s Bundesliga clash at Borussia Dortmund.
“If we were playing against Real Madrid, he might have gone, but Saturday’s game is in the back of our minds, which is very important for us,” he said.
Heynckes will have to improvise in attack against the Scottish champions, who equalled their own 100-year-old British record at the weekend by extending their unbeaten domestic run to 62 matches.
Forwards Thomas Mueller and Franck Ribery are out for Bayern with hamstring and knee injuries respectively.
Reserve striker Kwasi Okyere Wriedt is not registered for the Champions League, which means Under-19 striker Manuel Wintzheimer has been added to the squad for Glasgow.
After Lewandowski limped off before half-time on Saturday, Heynckes used Thiago Alcantara, Arturo Vidal and James Rodriguez in attack in the second half against Leipzig with limited success.
– ‘Magnitude of the test’ –
Heynckes — who guided Bayern to the treble of Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup in 2012/13 before being replaced by Pep Guardiola — said he had a solution to the striking problem but it would not be Vidal.
“There might be a possibility of playing 4-4-2 but we will make that decision tomorrow,” said Heynckes at the eve-of-match press conference.
“Every team faces difficulties with injuries, many other teams in the Champions League experience the same but we find solutions.
“While Arturo (Vidal) is very fast and very good up front I have a different plan for tomorrow.
“I have not worked often with Wintzheimer, I don’t know him well enough and, as I said before, there might be some other solutions,” added the 72-year-old.
French winger Kingsley Coman has been declared fit after an injury lay-off, but goalkeeper Manuel Neuer remains sidlelined long-term with a fractured foot.
Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers has injury worries of his own.
Right-winger Patrick Roberts picked up a knock in Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Kilmarnock which rules him out against Bayern. James Forrest is set to take over.
“It looks like a hamstring so we’ll get a scan on that. I’d suggest he’d probably be out for a few weeks,” said the Celtic boss.
“It’s unfortunate but the squad’s there to cope.”
Rodgers, whose side lost 3-0 to Bayern in Germany a fortnight ago, said Celtic would have enough to worry about even with Lewandowski and Mueller absent.
“Those two players, of course, will be a miss for them but they have some very good players behind that to come in like James Rodriguez, who came in and scored in one of the last few games,” said Rodgers.
“They are a talented team, they have been put together to win this competition so we know the magnitude of the test but it is one that we will relish.”
200+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
- Includes NBC, USA, FOX, ESPN, CBSSN & more
Live & On Demand TV Streaming
- Price: $69.99/mo. for Entertainment package
- Watch World Cup, Euro 2024 & MLS
- Includes ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 + local channels
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
- Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
- Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
2,000+ soccer games per year
- Price: $4.99/mo
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & NWSL
- Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
- Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
- Man City title miracle all part of Pep’s plan
- Hertha Berlin keep Bundesliga status with play-off win at Hamburg
- Italy face Argentina in UEFA vs CONMEBOL final on FS1
- Spinazzola makes Italy return for ‘Finalissima’ and Nations League
- Ukraine will be ready for World Cup play-off: Scotland boss Clarke
- Avram Glazer defends Man Utd reign after troubled season
- Mbappe says he consulted Macron over PSG deal
- West Ham’s Zouma in court over ‘cat abuse’ video
- Mbappe says he will not overstep role as a player under PSG deal
- Dortmund name Terzic as new head coach, sign Ozcan from Cologne