2.03.2022Bayer 04

Seoane: Azmoun could be in squad for #FCBB04

The countdown has begun: The first training session in preparation for the Bundesliga top match away to Bayern Munich on Saturday 5 March (kick-off: 15.30 CET) has been completed. After the one-hour-long session on Tuesday morning, Bayer 04 head coach Gerardo Seoane not only talked to the media about his squad and the clash between first and third in the league but also about the war in Ukraine. The Swiss coach on...

…the current situation with the squad at the start of the week: As you know, Andrey Lunev is still sidelined. Karim Bellarabi and Patrik Schick are doing their rehab programme, Robert Andrich has worked in the gym in the stadium. We are keeping an eye on the stress on his knee. But he is in our plans for the Munich game.

…the state of play with Karim Bellarabi who suffered a torn muscle in his left thigh in the middle of February: Karim is now in the last phase of rehab. He didn't do much in the first ten days after his injury. Now we are seeing fast progress in short bursts even though we haven't yet done the most intensive work with quick sprints and without long recovery times. We are happy he is making a good impression on us in terms of mentality. Theoretically, he could return to the squad for the derby (13 March, ed.) but we'll wait and see how he does this week.

…winter signing Sardar Azmoun: Our plan is to involve him in large parts of full training this week. As we couldn't put too much pressure on him in today's session, he wasn't able to take part in all the drills. If there are no problems for him over the course of week then I'm assuming we'll have him in the squad on Saturday in Munich.

…last Saturday's match against Armenia Bielefeld was the first game without conceding for almost 100 days (final score 3-0): We were happy about it as the result came from our own performance and not from luck in the game or due to numerous saves by the keeper. We can and want to build on that.

…preparations for the game in Munich: The reverse fixture was in October and a lot has happened since then. We were taught a bit of a lesson by FC Bayern on the day. Of course, that match was analysed afterwards – as we do with every game. We are trying to adopt the right approach to Saturday's challenge. It's clear we'll need the right attitude but also the right performance on the pitch.

…the war in Ukraine and the recent decision by UEFA to exclude Russian clubs from all European club competitions: As in many other areas, sport also has to make a clear statement on the events in Ukraine. The bodies in charge have done that with this decision. Of course, the players, coaches and fans of the excluded teams can't really do anything about it themselves. But it's about taking another, non-violent action to be able to restore peace quickly. We are all very moved by the images from Ukraine. Whether it's in Leverkusen, Cologne, Düsseldorf, at the BayArena or on the Deutsche Bank Park – we've seen clear messages of solidarity and sympathy over recent days. That's the way it should be and should continue. Like all of us, I'm absolutely against war.

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