BERLIN - Bayern Munich coach Julian Nagelsmann had hoped for a strong Bundesliga start in his first league game in charge of the champions on Friday at Borussia Mönchengladbach but instead is struggling with injuries.
Nagelsmann, who succeeded Hansi Flick on the bench, added defender Benjamin Pavard to the injury list after the France international suffered an ankle injury in training.
Defender Alphonso Davies is only recently back to team training, while Lucas Hernandez is still recovering after undergoing knee injury surgery last month. Combined with the departure of defenders David Alaba, Jérôme Boateng and Javi Martínez, Nagelsmann must come up with instant solutions for his backline operation.
After failing to win any of their four preseason matches, losing three of them, including a 2-0 defeat to Gladbach, Bayern and Nagelsmann must now hit the ground running in the Bundesliga as they gun for a record-extending 10th consecutive league crown.
Borussia Dortmund's own new coach Marco Rose has his work cut out with the absence of injured Mats Hummels and Raphaël Guerreiro in the league start against Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday. Germany international Emre Can is also unlikely to feature after coming back to training only days ago following a six-week injury break.
Their striker power will once more be Erling Haaland, who has kicked off the season with a hat-trick in their first round German Cup win, and the Ruhr valley club can also bank on the support of having up to 25,000 fans in their 80,000-capacity arena.
Things are not looking that positive for Mainz 05, who have had to isolate 14 players and staff due to positive COVID-19 cases ahead of their season opener at home against RB Leipzig on Sunday.
Nagelsmann's successor at Leipzig, Jesse Marsch, will be making his Bundesliga debut as head coach but has already earned early praise for his squad, that includes new striker André Silva, from former Germany world champion Lothar Matthäus.
"Bayern have the best starting 11 but RB have the best squad," Matthäus said earlier this week. "When we move away from the first 11, 12, 13 players and then you compare the players, then Leipzig can in my opinion react better to crises such as injuries, suspensions, and tiredness because of too many matches."
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Pritha Sarkar)