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Sidelined by injury

Ribéry ruled out of Sunday showdown

Sunday sees the Allianz Arena host the biggest match of the Bundesliga season so far, when leaders Bayern entertain closest pursuers Werder Bremen. The Reds lead the standings by three points following the northerners’ shock home defeat last weekend, so a Munich victory would represent “a minor milestone“ on the way to the title, Ottmar Hitzfeld declared.

However, the Bayern coach is without one of his undisputed stars for the match which means so much to both sides. Franck Ribery is “definitely out“ of the game with a stubborn hamstring problem, Hitzfeld confirmed after Wednesday training at the Säbener Strasse.

All-clear for Lucio

Hitzfeld has yet to decide how to cover for the loss of the French midfielder, who is reporting for treatment on a daily basis but cannot train at all at the present time. No date has been set for Ribéry’s return, and he is already rated doubtful for Bayern’s UEFA Cup trip to Scottish Premier League outfit Aberdeen just four days after the Bremen clash.

There was much better news of centre-half Lucio. “I think we’ll get him fit in time for Sunday,” commented assistant coach Michael Henke. The Brazilian stretched an Achilles tendon during the Bundesliga restart match in Rostock and was forced to pull out of his country’s midweek friendly in Ireland.

Jansen hard at work

Christian Lell also resumed training on Wednesday. “He’s running again, and that’s a good sign,” Henke remarked. Lell was laid low at the start of the week with a heavy dose of the flu.

Marcell Jansen has made a very good impression since resuming the full squad programme on Monday after two and a half months on the sidelines with an ankle injury. “It’s obvious he’s worked very hard on his rehab programme,” Henke said approvingly, although the talented left-footed player is not a contender for Sunday, and will instead continue rebuilding his stamina and fitness levels.