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Robben in the frame?

No op for Ribéry, Micho set for bench

Will Arjen Robben make a comeback in Saturday’s home meeting with Eintracht Frankfurt? “It’s hard to say,” Louis van Gaal commented. “I believe he’s fit. But I thought that a week ago,” the FCB coach recalled. Robben was set to return last Saturday, but was forced to withdraw from the matchday squad on the eve of the weekend Bundesliga trip to Freiburg.

The winger, who underwent surgery on a knee injury just three weeks ago, has spent the last few days on an intensive sports rehab programme. He rejoined the squad for the final pre-match practice game on Friday. “It’s his decision now,” Van Gaal said. If he gives the green light, the player will be named in the squad for the Frankfurt clash. “But he won’t start,” the coach remarked.

Ribéry avoids surgery

That also applies to Martin Demichelis. Ten weeks after an operation on an ankle injury, the Argentine stopper is now poised to make a comeback for his club. Demichelis will replace Daniel van Buyten in the Champions League at home to Bordeaux in two weeks, as the Belgian is suspended after receiving a red card in France. ‘Micho’ now needs to pick up match practice, although Van Gaal indicated the defender will start on the bench this Saturday.

Franck Ribéry remains sidelined for the present time. A decision has now been made on the best course of treatment for the long-term injury victim, who is struggling to shake off a patellar tendon problem. “Ribéry won’t have surgery,” Van Gaal reported. The midfielder will instead follow a programme designed to heal the injury naturally.

Breno, Braafheid and Olic sidelined

The decision was taken the previous day after consultations between Uli Hoeneß, club chief medic Dr. Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt, the player and his agent. “I think it’s a good decision,” observed Van Gaal, who was positive after seeing MRI images of the injury. “I hope it clears up more quickly than people seem to think.”

Apart from Ribery, the confirmed absentees on Saturday are Breno (Salmonella infection), Edson Braafheid (hamstring) and Ivica Olic (calf).