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No Ribery, no Robben

Van Gaal could revert to 4-4-2 formation

One of Franck Ribéry’s biggest fans plays directly behind him. “I don’t think there can be anything much better for a footballer than to play with Franck Ribéry,” Diego Contento is quoted as saying in the current edition of Bayern-Magazin, the club’s journal. “Sometimes, in the middle of a game, I just stand there open-mouthed after one of his tricks.” The pair’s relationship off the field is a good one too, Contento revealed: “We have a lot of fun together.”

For now, Contento will have to make do without his skilled partner, during matches at least. Ribéry tore ankle ligaments in Bayern’s midweek meeting with Hoffenheim, and although the injury was not as serious as originally feared, he will still be sidelined for at least the next four weeks.

“Losing him is a bitter blow,” summarised Jörg Butt. A typically dazzling Ribéry thrust and shot set up Thomas Müller’s equaliser against Hoffenheim, but also led directly to the ligament damage. “The situation showed how important he is to us. He was nicely on track,” continued Butt. “It's a real shame for Franck and for us,” added Ivica Olic, “I hope he’s back soon.”