Coutinho will not start for Bayern tomorrow: Kovac

BERLIN (AFP) – Brazilian star midfielder Philippe Coutinho will not make his first Bundesliga start when Bayern Munich travel to Schalke tomorrow, said coach Niko Kovac yesterday.

Coutinho, 27, has been the talk of Germany since joining Bayern on a one-year loan deal from Barcelona earlier this week.

Yet at a press conference yesterday, Kovac confirmed the Brazilian would begin his first game as a Bayern player on the bench.

“He is not quite at the level of fitness he needs to play for 90 minutes,” said Kovac.

“He has said that himself, and we don’t want to take any risks. He has only been training for the last two weeks, so he needs to catch up,” he added, but confirmed Coutinho would be in the matchday squad.

“I know a lot of people want us to play him straight away, but everything has to be right.”