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Olic out of opener

Croat striker faces long lay-off

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In Friday's fixture at the Allianz Arena heralding the start of the new Bundesliga season, Bayern will be without two of their most potent forwards. Last term’s top scorers Arjen Robben (ruptured thigh muscle) and Ivica Olic (knee) are both sidelined with injury. Robben contributed 23 goals to FCB’s double-winning campaign, with Olic chipping in 19 in all competitions.

Robben is out of action for some two months with an injury sustained before the World Cup and aggravated at the tournament in South Africa, and Olic could also be sidelined for a lengthy spell. “It's a nasty diagnosis,” Louis van Gaal commented on Thursday. The Croatia international took a blow to the knee while representing his country against Slovakia last week and has been in pain since then.

Extra leave for Robben

“The doctor has decided on a conservative course of treatment, so there won’t be an operation,” explained Van Gaal, “but that always takes a long time.“ No statement was made as to the length of Olic’s absence from the squad, although he will definitely play no part in Friday’s Bundesliga restart fixture against VfL Wolfsburg.

Van Gaal’s fellow-countryman Robben is currently away from Munich after being granted special leave from the club for the next ten to 14 days. “Our chief medical officer Dr Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt has sent him on vacation. That’ll give him peace and quiet. I hope he’ll be able to resume training after that,” Van Gaal announced.

Constant threat of injury

Van Gaal is also currently without centre-back Breno, who is still in sports rehab training after sustaining a cruciate ligament tear in March. Given the extremely short break available to the club’s 13 World Cup participants, Van Gaal fears further injuries to key players in the early weeks of the season.

“We have a saying in Dutch: Injuries are knocking at the door,” mused the 59-year-old, who feels the start of the new season has come too soon at just five weeks after the World Cup final. “Starting so soon again after a World Cup is definitely a problem.“