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Robben raring to go

Comeback slated for January restart fixture

Despite his near-complete recovery from serious injury, Arjen Robben will not feature in Bayern’s final match before the mid-season break. “I think Dr Müller-Wohlfahrt would have a heart attack,” retorted Louis van Gaal on Tuesday when asked if the Dutch superstar could make his long-awaited comeback in the cup clash with Stuttgart, even if only as a sub.

Instead, Robben has been pencilled in for squad duty in the first fixture of the second half of the Bundesliga campaign, the trip to Wolfsburg on 15 January. “And he might manage 20 minutes,” stated Van Gaal, “or perhaps 30,” provided Robben proves his fitness and form a week earlier in a friendly at the end of the winter training camp in Qatar (2-9 January) against a regional select XI.

Good impression in training

The 26-year-old forward, who resumed parts of the full squad training programme last week, has made a good impression so far, Van Gaal reported. “He’s training well, and there’s been no reaction as yet,” said the FCB boss, “he’s very, very keen to make his comeback, which is only logical after six months out.”

Robben was diagnosed with a ruptured muscle in his left thigh last August, an injury sustained prior to the World Cup in South Africa and aggravated during it. The Netherlands star has not played for Bayern at all this term.