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Picking up speed

‘I’m up to about 85 percent now’

Franck Ribéry is a man of many talents. A newly-acquired skill is the ability to speak German. Pressed to do so by reporters on Tuesday, he answered a number of questions in the local language. “It’s better, but it’s not perfect,” was his assessment after 16 months in the country.

The winger was clear enough when evaluating the importance of the midweek trip to Frankfurt. “The three points are vital. Bremen are playing Leverkusen, Hamburg meet Stuttgart.“ Bayern could make real progress in the table, “and we might even be top by Saturday,” Ribéry opined.

Picking up speed

The Frenchman feels FCB can still improve dramatically in the league. “We’re not yet as good as we were last season, but the wins against Karlsruhe, Fiorentina and Wolfsburg have done wonders for our confidence,” he offered, before switching back to his native tongue: “We’re feeling better physically too. We’re starting to click.“

Ribéry himself is rapidly picking up speed after making seven appearances, three of them over the full distance, since his three-month injury lay-off. He also opened his scoring account for the season against Wolfsburg. “I’m doing fine. I’m up to about 85 percent now. I just need to take the final step.“

Klinsmann delighted

“He’s obsessed,“ Jürgen Klinsmann reported as the Frenchman works and trains his way back to peak form. “He’s unbelievably ambitious. He’s making progress with every workout and every match.“ The coach feels Ribery has already made his mark on the team this season. “An in-form Franck is really, really important to us,” Klinsmann admitted, praising the player’s “creativity and invention.“

Those qualities will be needed in Frankfurt. “They’ll set out their stall, and try and score on the break or from set plays. It’s always hard work against teams like that,” Ribéry said. A moment of magic from the gifted 25-year-old could be decisive, and he himself is not lacking in desire: “We just need to score the first goal. That would make it all a lot easier.“