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Injury blow

Six weeks on the sidelines for Ivica Olic

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Bayern are likely to be without striker Ivica Olic for six weeks after the Croatia hitman injured a calf in training with his national team last Friday. The player withdrew from the Croatia squad and returned to Munich on Monday, where FCB chief medic Dr. Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt diagnosed a rupture of the right calf muscle.

The loss of Olic comes as a setback for Germany’s most successful club, as fellow attacker Arjen Robben (sports rehab training after knee surgery) is also out of action for another four weeks, with Franck Ribéry (inflamed knee tendon) similarly unavailable for selection at the present time. The France international, who has been troubled by injury since the start of pre-season in July, has not set a date for a possible comeback. He is rated very doubtful for next Saturday’s Bundesliga trip to face SC Freiburg.

Trio back in action

On a much more positive note, Mark van Bommel, Luca Toni and Martin Demichelis are all poised to resume match duties. Demichelis returned from a two-month injury lay-off as a second-half substitute for Argentina in a dramatic 2-1 World Cup qualifying victory over Peru last Saturday, and could feature for his country again in a crunch showdown with Uruguay on Wednesday.

Back in Germany, club captain Van Bommel and World Cup winner Toni are set to pick up much-needed match practice for Bayern this Tuesday in a specially-arranged friendly away to third division Jahn Regensburg. “I’ve supervised training with Luca Toni and (Mark) van Bommel in the last few days, and I think they’re both nearly ready, especially Luca Toni,“ Louis van Gaal said last week before setting off for a couple of days in the Netherlands.

Squad members for Freiburg clash?

“He’s an exceptional footballer who’s scored a lot of goals in recent seasons. We’re delighted we’ll soon have another weapon up front,“ director of sport Christian Nerlinger stated on Monday in response to a question about Toni. Nerlinger said he was relieved that the club boasted “a large enough squad to compensate for injuries. We have plenty of alternatives.“

Bayern coach Van Gaal will take charge of the team in Regensburg, gaining a personal impression of the progress made by the long-term injury absentees. It is highly possible that both men will appear in the matchday party for the Freiburg fixture. “If they perform, they’re both ready for the squad,” Van Gaal commented.