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Rafinha doubtful

Schweinsteiger poised for squad return

With two days to go until the home Bundesliga meeting against Hoffenheim, there was mixed news from the Bayern squad. The positive tidings concerned Bastian Schweinsteiger, sidelined for the last four weeks with ankle ligament damage, but now a contender for Saturday's squad. “I hope I’m able to include him when I name the squad tomorrow," coach Jupp Heynckes confirmed on Thursday.

“He's trained relatively well with the rest of the team," the boss continued. In the course of this week, the Germany international has steadily resumed the squad training programme, and was able to complete most of Thursday's session. “But he's spent weeks exclusively on sports rehab exercise. As you'd expect, he lacks match rhythm, and he's not in good enough physical shape to start," Heynckes reported.

Stimulus for the team

Despite the fitness deficit, a return for the 27-year-old midfielder to the 18-man matchday squad was to be welcomed, the coach insisted. “For me and for the team, he's an important contact point both on and off the field. He's a crucial player whose personality is a stimulus to the team," Heynckes said.

Arjen Robben, who was restricted to jogging on Wednesday with a muscle strain, came through Thursday’s programme unscathed and will be named in the squad for Saturday. Holger Badstuber is still unable to take part in the team exercise schedule, but Heynckes said he was confident the centre-half “will resume training on Friday" and therefore be available for selection against Hoffenheim.

Question mark over Rafinha

On a less positive note, there is a question mark over right-back Rafinha. The Brazilian has been unable to train with the flu, “and he'll very probably be unavailable for Saturday," Heynckes reported. “He doesn't have a temperature, but his blood readings weren't good. We'll see how it looks on Friday before taking a final decision."

Both Daniel van Buyten and Breno are definitely out of the weekend fixture. The metal plate inserted to repair a metatarsal in the Belgian’s left foot was surgically removed on Tuesday, and he will start out on sports rehab training as soon as the post-operative healing allows. The same applies to Brazilian defender Breno, who underwent keyhole surgery on his knee some four weeks ago and is currently pursuing a sports rehab programme.