UEFA Champions League: Bayern coach Nagelsmann hopes to be back against Benfica

Bayern has nine points from three games, having scored 12 goals and conceding none, with Benfica in second place on four. Barcelona is on three and Dynamo Kyiv is last on one point. The top two teams advance to the knockout stage.

FILE PHOTO: Nagelsmann had missed Bayern's 4-0 victory over Benfica in Portugal two weeks ago as well as all the league and German Cup matches since then but declared himself fit again for Tuesday.   -  REUTERS

Bayern Munich coach Julian Nagelsmann said on Monday he was confident he would be back on the bench for its Champions League Group E game against Benfica Lisbon on Tuesday after a two-week absence due to a COVID-19 infection.

Nagelsmann had missed Bayern's 4-0 victory over Benfica in Portugal two weeks ago as well as all the league and German Cup matches since then but declared himself fit again for Tuesday.

"You still feel there was something in your body but that's normal. I feel well and I think and hope the test tomorrow will be negative and I will be there," he told a virtual news conference from his home.

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"There are far worse fates in life than to be at home for 14 days. It is of course unusual and you want to work with the players and be on the bench in the team. Hopefully that will be the case tomorrow."

The Bavarians, who lost only one game in Nagelsmann's absence - last week's 5-0 remarkable demolition by Borussia Moenchengladbach in the German Cup -- is top of its Champions League group and will advance with victory over the Portuguese, with two games to spare.

Bayern has nine points from three games, having scored 12 goals and conceding none, with Benfica in second place on four. Barcelona is on three and Dynamo Kyiv is last on one point. The top two teams advance to the knockout stage.

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Bayern bounced back from its German Cup exit with a 5-2 win at Union Berlin in the Bundesliga on Saturday but it has conceded seven goals in its last two games and Nagelsmann said that needed to change.

"We need to be more active, to go into the one-on-ones. We have done it very well in some phases of the season so far," he said.

"Against Gladbach a lot of things did not work. But against Union we had that activity for much of the first half but then we eased off."

"We have to get this readiness back and keep putting the opponent under constant pressure. We will try to make it 12 points and reach the knockout stage tomorrow. We want to continue our form from the previous games."

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