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Steaua clash ‘too soon’

Ribéry out of Champions League opener

Bayern will open their Champions League campaign away to Steaua Bucharest on Wednesday without star winger Franck Ribéry, coach Jürgen Klinsmann confirmed to on Monday. The match comes “a little too soon” for the France international, the Munich supremo commented.

“Franck is doing very, very well. He’s pushing himself to the limit in training, it’s almost impossible to slow him down,” Klinsmann continued. Ribery, sidelined since tearing ankle ligaments at Euro 2008, only resumed the squad training programme last week. “He’s not yet ready for the Champions League,“ the coach summarised.

Double training

Instead of travelling to the Romanian capital with his team-mates, Ribéry will spend Tuesday and Wednesday with assistant coach Nick Theslof “completing two intensive training sessions.“ Klinsmann refused to rule out a potential return to the matchday squad for Ribéry in Saturday’s top Bundesliga clash at home to Werder Bremen.

“If he makes exceptional progress we’ll have him on the bench against Bremen,” announced Klinsmann, “although we’ll wait and see how it looks in training at the end of the week. We’ll look at the shape he’s in and how he feels. Maybe it’s a possibility for Saturday.“

Van Bommel restored

Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge backed Klinsmann’s instincts. “I think it’s better for Ribery to come back from injury in a home game,” Rummenigge told a news conference in Munich.

Apart from Ribéry and long-term casualties Willy Sagnol and Hamit Altintop, Klinsmann picks from a full squad in midweek. Captain Mark van Bommel sat out the weekend victory in Cologne, “but he’ll return to the starting line-up,” Klinsmann advised. The former Germany coach declined to comment on any other potential changes.

Highly motivated

Rummenigge voiced hopes of a good start to the club’s 12th Champions League campaign. After a season in the UEFA Cup the team was “highly motivated” on their return to the premier European stage. “It’s important to send out a signal and lay a good foundation after a year away.“