By 90Min
August 23, 2019

Bayern Munich boss Niko Kovac had revealed that Philippe Coutinho won't be thrust straight into action, but Ivan Perisic could make his debut against Schalke.


27-year-old Coutinho joined Bayern this week on a season-long loan from Barcelona, with an £109.8m agreement in place should the Bavarians wish to make the move permanent at the end of the campaign.

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Bayern have seen Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and James Rodriguez depart over the summer, but a lack of match fitness means Coutinho will have to wait for his chance to start - with manager Kovac revealing in his pre-match press conference that he must work on his fitness.

“He is not quite at the level of fitness he needs to play for 90 minutes," Kovac said. “He has said that himself, and we don’t want to take any risks. He has only been training for the last two weeks, so he needs to catch up.

“I know a lot of people want us to play him straight away, but everything has to be right. He’s a world-class footballer and a very modest young man. We want to integrate him into the team.”

Fellow new signing Perisic, who joined on loan from Inter before Coutinho's arrival, could feature against Schalke, though, having missed the opening day clash with Hertha BSC through suspension.

“Ivan is much further along, he started training at the same time as we did, and played several games for Inter Milan in pre-season,” Kovac added.

“He’s at the same fitness level as our other players because he took up training earlier than Philippe. I’m very glad we have him. “He’s an option (against Schalke), maybe from the start.”

Bayern have a superb recent record against Schalke, winning 15 of their last 18 matches against David Wagner's side - a record the former Huddersfield boss will look to put behind him as he enters his first full season in charge in Gelsenkirchen.

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