Berlin - A thumb injury is threatening to keep Bayern Munich captain Manuel Neuer sidelined with the Germany goalkeeper facing a race against time for their Champions League last-16 clash at Liverpool, the Bavarians' coach Nico Kovac said on Friday.
Neuer is doubtful for Saturday's home match against former club Schalke after missing both last weekend's 3-1 league defeat at Bayer Leverkusen and Wednesday's 3-2 German Cup win at Hertha Berlin when back-up Sven Ulreich played in goal.
Bayern's Champions League last 16, first-leg tie at Anfield is now ten days away, Kovac says the injury is complicated and there is no date for Neuer's return.
"The diagnosis is difficult, I'm not a doctor. It's a hand injury, that's clear," said Kovac with defending champions Bayern starting the weekend third in the Bundesliga table and seven points behind leaders Dortmund.
"We will have to see what happens against Augsburg (next Friday in the Bundesliga) and Liverpool - we won't take any risks.
"Only when Manuel, after talking to the doctors, says it's okay will we play him - not before."
Kovac revealed that it was Neuer's decision not to play against Hertha in the cup.
"When the player doesn't give his okay, you have to accept and respect that," said Kovac.
"We spoke before (the Hertha game) and he said 'not yet', it will honestly probably be the same for the game on Saturday (against Schalke)."
Kovac revealed Neuer's injury flared up after a training session on Thursday.
"I don't know how it happened in training, I remember we had a really intense shooting session, but there was no sign that he had a problem, that only came the next day," said Kovac.