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Bayern Munich low on defenders with Last 16 berth looming

Berlin (AFP) – Holders Bayern Munich are short on defenders for Wednesday’s home Champions League match against Red Bull Salzburg with Niklas Suele out and Lucas Hernandez only likely to start on the bench.

Bayern have won their first three games in Group A and will qualify for the last 16 if the European champions beat Salzburg, who lost 6-2 at home when the sides met in early November.

Bayern coach Hansi Flick says centre-back Suele needs to work on his fitness, while Hernandez, who can play left-back or centre-back, could start “on the bench”.

Suele was substituted at half-time when Germany were routed 6-0 by Spain last Tuesday on his first appearance since testing positive for Covid-19.

“He (Suele) is behind in training, so we have to make up for that,” Flick said Tuesday.

“Now we’re hoping he’ll play on Saturday,” Flick added with Bayern due to face Stuttgart away in the league this weekend.

Jerome Boateng is expected to partner David Alaba at centre-back, but Bayern are low on options on either side of defence.

Both midfielder Corentin Tolisso and right-back Bouna Sarr are both carrying knocks.

Flick also revealed Canadian left-back Alphonso Davies is back in training a month after damaging ankle ligaments.

Both Davies and midfielder Joshua Kimmich, who has undergone knee surgery, are expected to be able to play again in January.

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