Created on 09-02-2010 at 00:00 AM
Franck Ribéry appeared for 22 minutes in Bremen, then for just over half-an-hour at home to Mainz, and then for a full 45 minutes in Wolfsburg. Louis van Gaal has been gradually reintroducing his star midfielder to match action, but the Frenchman is now set for an appearance in the starting line-up for the first time since his long injury lay-off when Munich meet Greuther Fürth in the DFB Cup on Wednesday.
“Yes, he’ll start,” Van Gaal stated after Tuesday’s final pre-match training session. Ribéry last featured in the FCB starting line-up on 3 October last year, in the home Bundesliga meeting with FC Köln. Van Gaal declined to name the player who would be obliged to give way to Ribery.
In any case, the Bayern boss will be forced to make changes to his current favoured line-up. Bastian Schweinsteiger (strain), Jörg Butt (calf) and Miroslav Klose (ankle) were ruled out after the weekend, and they were joined on the absentee list on Tuesday by Daniel van Buyten. The Belgian has been laid low by gastro-enteritis, Van Gaal reported. “He started our training session but had to break off.”
Butt doubtful for Dortmund
Butt, who is also rated a doubt for Saturday’s home Bundesliga meeting with Borussia Dortmund, will be replaced by Michael Rensing, with reserve keeper Thomas Kraft on the bench. Anatoliy Tymoshchuk is set to cover for Schweinsteiger. In the case of Van Buyten, Holger Badstuber could move inside to centre-half, with Danijel Pranjic in at left-back.
Van Gaal declined to say whether further changes might be in the offing. Youngsters Diego Conteno and Mehmet Ekici, who both recently signed professional forms, will feature in the matchday squad and might yet get playing time. “I’d have no hesitation in bringing them on,” confirmed Van Gaal.