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On the mend

Van Buyten reports fit, Olic up and running

Louis van Gaal gave the players a day off on Thursday, hoping for “clear heads“ ahead of Saturday’s Bundesliga encounter with Schalke 04. What is certain is that the coach will be able to call on fresh legs, as Daniel van Buyten has shaken off a calf injury and has reported fit for the showdown against the Royal Blues.

Van Buyten, who would normally have been substituted due to the injury in last week’s league trip to Stuttgart, joined Thomas Müller, Arjen Robben and Breno for a training workout lasting some 90 minutes. Van Gaal in fact only released the players who were in the squad for the Bordeaux clash on Wednesday, so Van Buyten, Müller, Breno and number three keeper Thomas Kraft reported for duty as normal on Thursday, while Robben continued to work on catching up for time lost following surgery some four weeks ago.

Olic goes jogging

Breno has some ground to make up too. The Brazilian has been out for the last two weeks after contracting a salmonella infection and has spent the last few days on a tailored programme with sports rehab coach Thomas Wilhelmi. He is scheduled to resume the squad programme on Friday, and will continue to put in additional sessions as he regains fitness.

There was also positive news of Ivica Olic. Three and a half weeks after rupturing a calf muscle, the Croatia striker was able to go jogging for the first time on Thursday, taking a small but important step towards resuming the squad programme. Franck Ribéry (patellar tendon) and Christian Lell (gastroenteritis) remain sidelined at the present time.

Holtby fit for Schalke

Two days ahead of the trip to face Bayern, Schalke boss Felix Magath received similarly good news on the injury front. Midfielder Lewis Holtby has reported fit following a bruised foot and will be available for selection. “The injury’s cleared up sufficiently for him to play a part on Saturday,“ commented Magath, who also has Heiko Westermann (ankle) and Rafinha (knee) back on board. The only definite absentee for the former FCB coach is Levan Kenia (ankle).