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Impressive comebacks

Ribéry and Breno return from long lay-offs

An hour or so into Sunday’s all-Bavaria derby between Bayern and Nürnberg, the Allianz Arena resonated to the sound of excited applause. Philipp Lahm had just put the champions 2-0 up from the spot, but the majority of the 69,000 at the stadium were roused by a different event: Louis van Gaal had sent Franck Ribéry to warm up, and cries of “Ribéry, Ribéry” rang around the ground.

The player finally returned to match action on 70 minutes, fully seven-and-a-half weeks after rupturing ankle ligaments in FCB’s away meeting with Hoffenheim. And in his 20-minute comeback, the 27-year-old from Boulogne showed all the skill which makes him world class: pace, invention and subtlty down the right flank, as he created a number of presentable chances.

“We’re delighted he’s back. Everyone saw what he can do for us and that he’s an effective weapon,” enthused chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. “He gave off a fantastic impression, and featured in some great moves. He looks very fresh,” agreed director of sport Christian Nerlinger.