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Bayern's list of absentees is no comfort to Celtic boss Rodgers

 

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All smiles: Brendan Rodgers in relaxed mood ahead of the visit of Bayern Munich. Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA

All smiles: Brendan Rodgers in relaxed mood ahead of the visit of Bayern Munich. Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA

PA

All smiles: Brendan Rodgers in relaxed mood ahead of the visit of Bayern Munich. Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers will take little succour from the absence of two "world class" Bayern Munich players ahead of tonight's Champions League clash at Celtic Park.

Germany World Cup winner Thomas Muller, who scored in the 3-0 Group B win against the Hoops earlier in the month, was already out before the Bundesliga side confirmed that Robert Lewandowski had not travelled to Glasgow with his team-mates.

The Poland striker picked up a thigh injury after scoring in the 2-0 Bundesliga win over RB Leipzig at the weekend, leaving the German giants light in the central striker's role - although they have included Under-19 forward Manuel Wintzheimer in their squad.

Juan Bernat, Manuel Neuer, and Franck Ribery also remain on the sidelines through injury, but Rodgers believes Bayern will have more than enough quality to prove tough opposition.

The Ulsterman said: "Of course it is two players who have been world class consistently for a number of years.

"Lewandowski is one of the world's best strikers with his movement, his speed and quality, and he has been consistently doing that for few years.

"And Muller is a player who I have always loved wherever he has played, whether a striker, on the right, or as he did against us an advanced midfield player.

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"He is a very gifted player and his will and desire to play well is always there.

"So those two players will be a miss for them but they have some very good players behind that to come in like James Rodriguez, who came in and scored in one of the last few games.

"They are a talented team, they have been put together to win this competition so we know the magnitude of the test but it is one that we will relish."

The former Swansea and Liverpool boss responded to Bayern chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge's assessment of Lewandowski's omission.

Rummenigge told his club's official website: "If we had played against Real Madrid, he might have gone.

"The coach does not want to risk anything as Saturday's game (away to Borussia Dortmund), which is very important for us, is in the back of his mind."

Rodgers acknowledged that the Hoops have work to do before they can be bracketed alongside the likes of the Spanish giants.

He said: "Someone showed me something on that. Listen, we respect that they are a very good side.

"All we can do is control what we can, so whatever Bayern Munich's intentions are I have the utmost respect for them and their team.

"For us it is about earning the respect at this level hopefully over the next few years, and for that you have to perform well."

  • Celtic v Bayern Munich, Champions League, Celtic Park, Tonight, 7.45pm

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