Leeds United have suffered an injury setback ahead of their Premier League clash against Burnley on Sunday afternoon.
The Whites are looking for their first win of the new campaign in the top-flight, having been beaten by Manchester United on the opening day and then held by Everton last weekend.
Now, ahead of their game at Turf Moor later today, The Athletic’s Phil Hay confirmed a late blow for Marcelo Bielsa’s side surrounding Germany international Robin Koch.
Writing on Twitter, he said: “No Robin Koch again this weekend, still recovering from injury, but Bielsa thinks Llorente is ready for 90 minutes and Forshaw came through the Crewe game positively. #lufc”
While Koch had a difficult first game against United, that of course came when he was asked to fill in the holding midfield role after Kalvin Phillips was ruled out through injury.
Without the German in the team last season, Leeds struggled to keep a lid of things in defence, keeping just five clean sheets in the 17 Premier League games he missed through injury between December and early March.
As per WhoScored, he boasted the best passing accuracy of any senior Whites centre-back, and that’s incredibly important for Bielsa as he looks for his side to play out from defence.
The 25-year-old also ranked highly compared to the rest of his teammates when it came to his defensive contributions, averaging the third best in terms of interceptions per game, and being dribbled past the fewest amount of times per match of any defender in the squad.
Vincenzo Grifo, Koch’s former teammate at Freiburg, talked up his ability to The Athletic by saying: “He’s very vocal at the back and he loves to have the game in front of him. He’s an outstanding organiser. His improvement is incredibly rapid, including in the national team, and he’s on a path to become a world-class player, a monster centre-back.”
When Koch is on song, and playing with confidence, the German is a valuable member of this Leeds squad, and news of his absence against Burnley, in a game where the Whites will have to counter the Clarets’ physicality, will come as a major blow.
Bielsa will surely be gutted.