Koeman gives clues on fitness of Coutinho & Luuk de Jong pre-Bayern

The duo are in contention to feature in Tuesday's Champions League opener

| sport

Ronald Koeman has problems in attack for Tuesday's Champions League opener vs. Bayern Munich after Martin Braithwaite was ruled out until 2022.

Barcelona are also without Sergio Aguero, Ousmane Dembele and Ansu Fati for the European tie at Camp Nou this week.

Therefore, Koeman will have to decide who to pair in attack with Memphis Depay, with Philippe Coutinho only just back from injury, Luuk de Jong lacking match fitness and young Yusuf Demir his options.

"Coutinho better every day"

Koeman was asked about his options in attack and said it's important for Coutinho, who last played competitively nine months ago, and De Jong to get minutes.

"Philippe has been out for a long time but is better every day," the Dutchman said. "He needs minutes now. That's the last step.

"As for Luuk, it is different because he's gone less time without playing. Physically he's good but he also needs games. If [they] don't start, it's important to have minutes."  

Ghosts of the past

Coutinho was in the Bayern side that beat Quique Setien's Barcelona 8-2 in August 2020 in the same competition but a lot has changed since then.

Fans are back in stadiums, Lionel Messi has left Barcelona, leaving a huge hole to fill, and various players have come and gone, while both clubs have changed managers.

"More than a year has passed," Koeman pointed out. "Several players still here suffered a lot in that game. Now we have a unique opportunity. We can do damage to Bayern, we have a good team. We have to play our way to do damage to the opposition."




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