Neuer has chance of facing Hertha, claims Bayern boss Kovac
Bayern Munich head coach Niko Kovac has not ruled out Manuel Neuer making a swift return in Wednesday's third-round trip to Hertha Berlin in the DFB-Pokal.
Germany goalkeeper Neuer sat out Saturday's 3-1 loss at Bayer Leverkusen, which left champions Bayern seven points shy of Borussia Dortmund at the Bundesliga summit.
Understudy Sven Ulreich said his absence was down to a thumb injury that meant the digit was "really fat, but in one or two days things should look different", while SportBild reported potential ligament damage could result in Neuer spending up to three months on the sidelines.
Bayern are continuing to monitor their captain - who last season was hampered by foot injuries - and he remains in training, and Kovac told a news conference he could still get the medical all-clear to play in the capital.
"Manuel is so far, so good," he said. "I think he wants to play immediately but we need the all-clear from the doctors, which we haven't had yet.
"We can't say anything concrete regarding tomorrow – we have to wait until after training."
Niko #Kovac on @Manuel_Neuer "He feels good. He'd like to play straight away, but we need the all clear from the doctors, which we haven't had yet. We can't say anything concrete regarding tomorrow - we also have to wait until after training." #BSCFCB #MiaSanMia pic.twitter.com/F2pgUjVny7
— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) February 5, 2019
Midfielder Renato Sanches will be similarly assessed after Tuesday's session but veteran winger Arjen Robben (thigh) remains out.
Leon Goretzka's fourth goal in his past three Bundesliga outings put Bayern ahead against Leverkusen but keeping hold of leads has become a problem that has dogged Kovac's first season at the helm.
"We have, I am told [lost] 12 points after a lead. That cannot happen," he said.
"No matter who and where we [are playing], we have to work for 90 minutes.
"We have a big task to complete against Hertha. We want to go through to the next round and we have to make amends there.
"There is only one plan and that is to win tomorrow's game."
Bayern have not won on their previous three trips to the Olympic Stadium and are without a victory in the four previous top-flight editions of the fixture.
Kovac added: "Hertha will defend well. We need to make sure we take control of the game quickly and take our chances in order to steer things in the right direction from the start.
"It will be a tough battle."