Mon, Sep 26, 2016 - Page 12 News List

Hummels facing an anxious wait

AFP, BERLIN

Hamburg SV goalkeeper Rene Adler, bottom, and defender Johan Djourou, left, vie for the ball with Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski in their Bundesliga match at the Volksparkstadion in Hamburg, Germany, on Saturday.

Photo: AP

Mats Hummels is facing an anxious wait to see whether he is fit to face Atletico Madrid on Wednesday after limping out of Bayern Munich’s 1-0 win at Hamburg SV.

Atletico host Bayern at Madrid’s Vicente Calderon with both sides having won their opening Group D matches in the UEFA Champions League, but Hummels is an injury concern after being forced off after 50 minutes of Bayern’s Bundesliga win on Saturday which kept Carlo Ancelotti’s Munich top of the table with five wins from five games.

“I got a blow on my knee just before the halftime break,” the Germany defender told Sky after the win, which left Bayern as the only team in Germany’s top flight with a 100 percent record. “We had hoped it would get better as long as I moved, but it just got worse. We’re assuming that it was just a knock as the first tests haven’t shown up anything, but there are no guarantees.”

Under Ancelotti, Bayern have won all of their eight matches so far this season in all competitions.

Joshua Kimmich’s late winner in Hamburg came after Thiago Alcantara’s sublime pass freed Franck Ribery on the left wing and the Frenchman’s cross beat the defense.

The victory leaves Bayern three points clear of second-placed Borussia Dortmund, who beat SC Freiburg 3-1 on Friday when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored his fifth goal in five games.

“It was a very hard affair, which at the end was settled by an incredible moment from Thiago and Franck,” Hummels said. “Hamburg are always an unpleasant team to play against. We were a bit slow and a bit unprecise in our play.”

The match-winner agreed that Bayern were slow to react in the first half and need to raise their game for Atletico.

“We were uninspired in the first half and didn’t have many chances,” Kimmich said. “We were better after the break and had three or four fat chances, but at the end we were lucky to have got the goal.”

Ribery, a second-half replacement for Kingsley Coman, lived dangerously with a patronizing pinch of Nicolai Mueller’s cheek following a tussle midway through the second half which escaped the referee’s attention.

It was the latest in a string of off-the-ball incidents involving the Frenchman that earned him a ticking off from Ancelotti at the start of the season.

“It’s always questionable when the hand touches a face,” Hummels said after watching replays of the incident.

“When they are both friends, then it’s just a pleasantry, but I’m not sure how well they know each other,” he added, tongue-in-cheek.

The defeat to Bayern was another blow to Hamburg coach Bruno Labbadia, who is battling for his job after four straight defeats.

Hamburg chairman Dietmar Beiersdorfer left Labbadia’s future open and said there would be internal discussions.

Labbadia’s Hamburg certainly put in the work, covering 115km in the game — nine more than the Bayern team.

“We didn’t want to be the rabbit caught in the headlights,” Labbadia said. “We had two big chances in the first half and the team fought hard. The lads are incredibly disappointed, but did a great job.”

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top