BERLIN (AP) — Bayern Munich coach Niko Kovac was hoping the international break would revitalize his players after four games without a win.
But the team’s German contingent return following losses in the Netherlands and France, Robert Lewandowski’s ill-luck with Poland continued with losses to Portugal and Italy, and Thiago Alcantara lost with Spain against England.
Only two of Bayern’s internationals – James Rodriguez of Colombia and Renato Sanches of Portugal – picked up victories.
Bayern, which is trying to win a seventh straight Bundesliga title, is going through a bad slump. The last game before the break was a 3-0 loss to Borussia Moenchengladbach in Munich, leaving Bayern in sixth place and four points behind Borussia Dortmund after seven matches.
Kovac was unable to work with his players over the break and had been hoping they would get a “clear head” while on international duty.
James was only due back in Munich on Thursday, giving Kovac limited time to go over what has been going wrong before Saturday’s visit to Wolfsburg.
On the positive side, the previously injured Jerome Boateng, Leon Goretzka and Rafinha all completed training on Wednesday. David Alaba, who picked up a slight muscle tear in the loss to ‘Gladbach, took part in some of the exercises.
“The quality is there,” Bayern defender Mats Hummels said in Paris. “I believe we’ll do it.”
WEINZIERL’S TOUGH DEBUT
Markus Weinzierl would likely have preferred an easier game in which to make his debut in charge of last-place Stuttgart.
Dortmund is high on confidence after several dramatic late wins and will be determined to maintain its three-point lead when the teams meet on Saturday.
“You can also beat the leader as the last-place team,” said Weinzierl, a former Augsburg and Schalke coach. “It’s a huge chance for us to get away from the bottom with three points.”
Dortmund captain Marco Reus had a knee problem but should be ready to play.