BERLIN (AP) Bayern Munich wants more protection from referees.
The defending champions lost French midfielder Corentin Tolisso and Brazilian defender Rafinha to injuries sustained in last weekend’s win over Bayer Leverkusen. Both club president Uli Hoeness and chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge have called for a reaction from the German soccer federation.
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“It can’t go on like this. Otherwise we won’t have any players after the 10th round or we won’t be able to get 11 players together,” Rummenigge said ahead of Saturday’s Bundesliga match against Schalke in Gelsenkirchen.
Tolisso was ruled out for several months after rupturing a cruciate ligament and the medial meniscus in his right knee, while Rafinha is out for several weeks with a partial tear of ligaments in his left ankle after a bad challenge from Karim Bellarabi, who was sent off.
Bellarabi, who apologized after the match, was subsequently banned for four games and fined 10,000 euros ($11,750).
After the game, Hoeness had called for Bellarabi to be banned for “three months – for stupidity.”
Bayern already lost French winger Kingsley Coman to injury in its first home game of the season, after which Rummenigge accused Hoffenheim of playing “football in a wild-west manner.”
Bayern coach Niko Kovac said his side was “fair game” for others to target with hard challenges.
It was different when Kovac was in charge of Eintracht Frankfurt from March 8, 2016, to June 30, 2018. No side committed more fouls per game (15.4) than Frankfurt in that time.
Contrary to Bayern’s claims, both Kicker magazine and the Bild tabloid reported that promoted teams Nuremberg and Fortuna Duesseldorf, and Wolfsburg, all were fouled more the defending champions in the opening three games of the season.
Bayern’s 36 fouls is the same as Leipzig and Stuttgart, and its average of 12 per game is marginally below the average for last season.
Bayern’s players are more relaxed about the issue after winning their opening three league games and making winning starts in the German Cup and Champions League.
“I don’t think it’s so extreme,” Bayern midfielder Joshua Kimmich said.
On Saturday, the team can expect committed opponents again. Schalke, which finished runner-up last season, is looking for its first win after starting with three losses.