Bayern Munich focused on Real Madrid not Rangnick – Kimmich

MUNICH, Germany — Joshua Kimmich says Bayern Munich cannot let uncertainty surrounding the club’s next manager affect their bid to get past Real Madrid in the Champions League semifinals.

Thomas Tuchel is set to leave the post at the end of the season, though a petition created by fans for the 2021 Champions League winner to stay has reached nearly 18,000 signatures.

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Bayern have made former Manchester United caretaker Ralf Rangnick their top choice to replace him, but ahead of the semifinal first leg in Munich on Tuesday, Kimmich has warned against letting the speculation become a distraction.

“We heard about it but for players it doesn’t concern us,” Kimmich told a news conference on Monday.

“It’s all about tomorrow and next week [in Madrid] so we don’t really let anything in. We focus and concentrate on what we want to do. Focus on that and everything else we can’t have an influence on.”

Tuchel says he is looking to reach the Champions League final to “compensate” for a poor domestic campaign which has seen Bayern surrender the Bundesliga title for the first time since 2012.

He has concerns over the fitness of a number of players including Konrad Laimer, Matthijs de Ligt, Leroy Sané, Jamal Musiala and Dayot Upamecano, but in his pre-match news conference, the German coach was confident enough to make a bold prediction about Serge Gnabry.

“Serge Gnabry is going to score,” he said. “It’s going to happen. I don’t know where it’s come from, but it’s going to happen.”

Gnabry was on target in the quarterfinal against Arsenal as Bayern won 3-2 on aggregate to set up the last-four tie against Real Madrid.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side, 14-times winners of the competition, will start the game as favourites, but Tuchel believes the two games against Arsenal, who are top of the Premier League, can give his players the belief to reach the final at Wembley.

“It gave us a lot of confidence to eliminate Arsenal,” Tuchel said. “They are top of the Premier League and they have shown their qualities. This is a big stage and we want to push it over the line.

“We play against Real Madrid and play against experience, the shirt, the myth.

“We’re looking forward to it. We have to find a good mix between discipline and freedom. We have to find the right balance and take advantage of it. It feels like a final and my approach is to see it like a final.”