Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 19 September 2019

Philippe Coutinho a game changer, says Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski

Brazilian midfielder in line for debut against Schalke on Saturday after completing season-long loan from Barcelona

German champions Bayern Munich hope the arrival of Philippe Coutinho can kick-start their season when they travel to Schalke on Saturday after a stuttering start to the campaign.

The Brazilian midfielder joined Bayern on a season-long loan from Barcelona this week for an initial outlay of €8.5 million (Dh34m) with the option to make the deal permanent next summer for €120 million.

Defeat in the German Super Cup to Borussia Dortmund and a 2-2 home draw with Hertha Berlin in their Bundesliga opener last week made for a disappointing start to the season for the Bavarians.

Another slip-up at Schalke would set the alarm bells ringing at Bayern, who have won the last seven league titles.

Coutinho's arrival was greeted with plenty of enthusiasm by Bayern fans frustrated by the club's failure to land a host of big-name targets, with Manchester City winger Leroy Sane chief among them before the Germany international suffered a long-term knee injury earlier this month, over the summer.

With Ivan Perisic also arriving on loan from Inter Milan and the arrival of France youth international Mickael Cuisance from Borussia Monchengladbach, Bayern manager Niko Kovac has plenty of attacking options as the club come to terms with life without star wingers Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, who left the club at the end of last season.

The transfer window in Germany shuts next week.

One Bayern player particularly keen to work alongside Coutinho is centre-forward Robert Lewandowski.

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Philippe Coutinho trains with Bayern Munich teammates

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"Players like him can decide whether you win the game or not," said the Poland international.

"With such a player one can play together with no problems from the very first game."

Coutinho took part in his first training session with his new teammates on Monday and the club are confident he will play some part against Schalke.

Two players who could be heading out the door at the Allianz Arena are Renato Sanches and Jerome Boateng after Bayern chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told Sky Germany that both players will find it difficult to break into the first team this season.

Portuguese midfielder Sanches and German defender Boateng have both pushed for a move away from Bayern in recent months. Both have dropped down the pecking order in their positions.

With regard to Sanches, Rummenigge said Bayern were working to find a solution that "suits the coach and the club" while adding that World Cup winner Boateng "will not find it easy to get regular game time" following the big-money signings of Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernandez.

Dortmund, who shot out of the blocks with a 5-1 demolition of Augsburg last week, travel to Cologne on Friday.

Updated: August 22, 2019 12:53 PM

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