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Schweinsteiger returns

‘One or two fresh faces’ for Schalke showdown

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Frequent observers of morning training at the Säbener Straße are accustomed to the sight of a reduced squad at the workouts after an evening match, when the group often exclusively comprises those who played no part the night before. Thursday’s training party included Martin Demichelis and Bastian Schweinsteiger, both unable to appear in the previous day’s derby due to injury, but the midfielder at least is set for a comeback against Schalke 04 on Saturday.

“Schweinsteiger will return to the squad,” Ottmar Hitzfeld told on Thursday. The Bayern boss will observe Demichelis in final training on Friday “before deciding whether he’ll come with us.“ The Argentine stopper only recently resumed the squad programme after a torn calf muscle.

Ribéry to start in Schalke

In the wake of the dramatic 120-minute battle with TSV 1860 Munich, Hitzfeld announced “one or two fresh faces“ for the showdown at the Schalke Arena. “We’re carrying a few injuries, which you always get after that kind of fight. Lucio is doubtful with a strain, Zé Roberto has a problem, Miroslav Klose hurt his foot. We’ll have to see who’s fit for Saturday,” Hitzfeld reported.

By contrast, Franck Ribéry is a definite starter. “I agreed with the coach that I’d start on the bench against the Lions,” the Frenchman explained. Hitzfeld would have preferred to begin with Ribery, the coach revealed, “but Franck wanted to come on for the second half, because he didn’t feel he was fit enough for 90 minutes.“

Birthday boy Ottl for Van Bommel?

However, extra-time meant the winger completed 75 minutes against TSV. “I’m a little tired today, but I’ll be fine to start against Schalke,” reported the scorer of the winning goal on Wednesday. Ribery last started for Bayern in the 2-1 win over Rostock in the first league fixture after the mid-season break.

Andreas Ottl is also likely to make the starting line-up, and not just as a celebration of his 23rd birthday on Saturday. Ottl is the prime contender to deputise in the holding role for Mark van Bommel, who is suspended. Michael Rensing has resumed training and will begin on the bench as number two keeper.