Refs must do more to protect Bayern stars - Rummenigge
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Berlin (AFP) –
Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge wants referees to give their stars more protection after Corentin Tolisso and Rafinha both suffered long-term injuries at the weekend.
Bayern flew to Portugal ahead of their opening Champions League group stage game at Benfica on Wednesday without World Cup winning France midfielder Tolisso or right-back Rafinha.
Tolisso, 24, tore the cruciate ligament in his right knee following a tackle by Kevin Volland after scoring a superb goal in Bayern's 3-1 home win against Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday and is expected to be out for months.
It was Tolisso's first start of the season.
Rafinha, 33, is also set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines after tearing ankle ligaments from a stamp on his heel by Leverkusen winger Karim Bellarabi, who was sent off for the foul and banned for four games.
Bayern have now lost three players in as many league matches as France winger Kingsley Coman also tore ankle ligaments after being fouled on the opening day of the season against Hoffenheim.
"It can't go on like this or by matchday 10 (in the Bundesliga), we won't be able to put out 11 players," fumed Rummenigge before Bayern jetted off on Tuesday.
"We don't like the way teams are playing against us, that has to be sorted out somehow.
"In this regard, we must ask the DFB (German FA), and referees in particular, to protect our players."
Bayern are bidding for a seventh straight league title this season and Rummenigge believes teams are playing dirty in a bid to stop them.
"It's partly motivated by the public, under the motto: 'stop Bayern Munich by any means' -- that's completely unfair," said the Bayern boss.
As usual, Bayern, who also face Ajax and AEK Athens in Group E, are targeting a run to the knock-out stages after bowing out to eventual winners Real Madrid in the semi-finals last season.
"We have a top-class squad and high goals. We want to achieve great things in the Champions League," said Rummenigge.
With Tolisso, Coman and Rafinha out, places are up for grabs in Bayern's starting line-up with Germany star Thomas Mueller set to make his 100th Champions League appearance at Benfica.
Bayern have won their opening Champions League match for 14 seasons in a row, the only exception being in 2007/08 when they failed to qualify, and have five wins, with three draws, in eight meetings with Benfica.
© 2018 AFP