One defender is out for weeks, the other is back in time for the top game at FC Bayern: Piero Hincapie completed full team training on Monday and is ready for action in Bayern’s away game in Munich on Friday.
It’s a contrasting programme. In the morning, Bayer 04 had announced the long-term absence of right-back Arthur, but after the training session of his professionals who remained in Leverkusen, Xabi Alonso was able to include a long-term injury victim again for the matchday line-up: Piero Hincapie.
The 21-year-old, who broke his metatarsal while playing for Ecuador in June, is set to make his comeback in time for the top match in Munich. “He trained completely with the team for the first time today. The plan is for him to participate normally throughout the week, then we’ll see what happens with the game on Friday,” Xabi Alonso explained the state of play.
If there is no setback, the left-footer should be part of the matchday line-up as early as Friday in Munich. “So far he has no pain after training. That is the most important thing. If everything goes well, it’s possible that he will come along,” the Basque said optimistically.
“Playing from the start would be difficult for him “
This would at least give the Werkself coach one more substitute option in defence. Of course, Hincapie is not yet ready for the starting eleven. “It would be difficult for him to play from the start,” knows Xabi Alonso, “but he could help us for 15 or 20 minutes.”
Hincapie’s return comes just in time because the Ecuadorian World Cup participant is versatile, able to defend not only inside but also outside. “On the left, we don’t have so many options. Him, Grimaldo and also Arthur, but he is injured. It’s important that Piero is back,” breathed Leverkusen’s coach.
Xabi Alonso’s hunch
Good news after the devastating diagnosis for Arthur, who the club expect to be out for up to three months after suffering a muscle tendon injury in his thigh. “He is badly injured. He needs a few weeks. We’ll have to wait and see,” said Xabi Alonso, who had apparently suspected bad things after the 5-1 win over the Lilien on Matchday 3. “I was worried after the Darmstadt game that everyone would come back healthy from the internationals,” the 41-year-old repeated his words from the post-match press conference, “now we have one injured – hopefully it won’t be more.”
The injury of the newly signed Brazilian hits the player, but also Xabi Alonso quite hard, as the latter admits. “For Arthur it’s a shame. He had fitted in well. Now the English weeks are coming. It would have been important to have him there. We don’t have so many options in his position,” the coach regrets Arthur’s absence, which will now be somewhat alleviated by Hincapie’s return, at least on the left side.