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Injury concerns

Ribéry, Micho and Van Buyten doubtful

Three days ahead of Bayern’s first UEFA Cup group fixture away to FK Crvena Zvezda (Red Star Belgrade), a clutch of key players have reported in sick or injured. Centre-halves Martin Demichelis and Daniel van Buyten may not be fit to play, and midfield dynamo Franck Ribéry is also struggling for fitness. “All three are doubtful for Thursday,“ Bayern coach Ottmar Hitzfeld informed

Ribéry felt a hamstring go stiff after Saturday’s trip to Bochum and reported to the medical unit for treatment on Monday, although the France star was able to go jogging afterwards. Demichelis saw the doctor in the morning for medicine against the flu, while Van Buyten continues to struggle with a bruised thigh sustained on duty for Belgium last week.

Positive news of Lucio

Brazil captain Lucio, troubled by a stomach upset over the weekend, is on the road to recovery and completed an individual training programme in the weights room on Monday. He is not considered doubtful for Belgrade, meaning Hitzfeld should have at least one recognised centre-half available for selection. In the event Demichelis and Van Buyten are both ruled out, one of Valérien Ismaël, Christian Lell, Andreas Ottl or rookie professional Mats Hummels would likely partner the Brazilian.

Ismaël felt Demichelis would report fit in time for Thursday’s showdown. “I’m assuming Micho will take his place as usual. If not, I’m available,“ the 32-year-old declared after resuming team training last week following a year out with injury. He and all the squad players will be closely monitoring their team-mates’ state of health in the coming days.