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Ribéry returns

Van Gaal set to name unchanged line-up

Franck Ribéry has resumed the squad training programme. On Wednesday, the France star completed his first full team session in four weeks. “I hope he stays fit now and makes us an even better team,” club captain Mark van Bommel commented. A persistent knee problem meant Ribéry missed almost the entire pre-season warm-up programme.

Croatia international Ivica Olic, who twisted knee ligaments at the end of the summer training camp two weeks ago, also returned to training with the squad. Alongside Ribéry and Olic, number three keeper Thomas Kraft (calf) was back on the practice ground after injury.

Gomez not in doubt

The only man missing now is Luca Toni. On Wednesday morning, the Italian again reported to rehab coach Thomas Wilhelmi for a workout, although he was accompanied on this occasion by Mario Gomez. The Germany striker has a groin strain and opted not to take part in the team session. However, the man who opened his Bayern account with a brace in the cup against Neckarelz resumed the squad programme for the afternoon session.

Gomez is thus not rated doubtful for Saturday’s Bundesliga restart fixture away to TSG 1899 Hoffenheim at the Rhein-Neckar Arena. A decision on whether Ribéry might be fit enough for the matchday squad has yet to be taken. “I can’t say yet. The only thing I do know is that he won’t start,” boss Louis van Gaal said in an interview.

Müller set to start

Van Gaal wants Ribéry to take on the playmaking duties in his revised formation for the club. “The season’s already underway, but he’s basically only started training as of this morning. I have to integrate Franck into the team now, and it’ll be difficult,” the 57-year-old warned.

In the cup tie, youngster Thomas Müller stood in for Ribéry in the position behind the front two. The 19-year-old appears all but certain to feature in the first league fixture of the new term. “I think we’ll start against Hoffenheim with the team that played Neckarelz,” Van Gaal confirmed. Naturally, that depends on no new injuries or illnesses cropping up before the weekend.