Niko Kovac insists Bayern Munich are unified despite a three-match winless run that has dropped them to second in both the Bundesliga and their Champions League group.
Kovac is coming under scrutiny amid the poor form that continued with the midweek home draw with Ajax, while reports in Germany point to player unrest to the extent that James Rodriguez wants to leave the club.
Victory over Borussia Mönchengladbach at the Allianz Arena would settle the nerves and Kovac disputes the suggestions of disharmony.
“The atmosphere in the dressing room is a positive one,” the Croatian coach said.
“Some are of course disappointed not to play, and we’re also disappointed with recent results. Nevertheless, there is a real sense of unity in the team.
“When you’re playing for Bayern Munich, there’s always pressure. You always have to win, so nothing is different going into this game.”
Kovac has indicated he will make changes, although central defender Mats Hummels is available despite being cut during a collision against Ajaz.
Brazilian Rafinha remains sidelined, however, as he continues his recovery from an ankle problem.
“We need to have some fresh legs on the pitch and avoid picking up any more injuries,” Kovac said.
“We’re playing every three days. That alone is demanding, and our opponents are playing with a lot of intensity too.
“Hummels has been to the neurologist and given the green light. He has trained with the team again today (Friday) and will be in the squad tomorrow.”
James, the Colombian attacking midfielder on loan from Real Madrid, is said to be unhappy at serving as a peripheral figure in recent weeks, but Kovak made light of the reports that he wants to leave.
“We have a lot of international players. There will always be cases where one player plays and another doesn’t,” Kovac said.
“James is a player of extraordinary quality and is important for the club. He showed that against Schalke, against Benfica, and then against Ajax when he came on.
“He’s proved that several times, but I can’t play with 12 men. He will play as many games as others.”
Mönchengladbach sit fourth in the table after making their best start to the season for 11 years and coach Dieter Hecking is eager to continue that run at the Allianz Arena.
“The desire for a victory will be very great at Bayern,” said Hecking, who revealed that Lars Stindl could make his comeback from a long-term ankle injury.
“We want to act courageously and passionately and repeat everything that we have already shown this season. We know that the away game in Munich is one of the toughest of the season.”