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'It's a shame for him'

Shaqiri double followed by injury blow

Xherdan Shaqiri briefly held his thigh when he was substituted on 61 minutes. He pulled his face in pain. The Swiss midfield dynamo did not look happy. And that despite an outstanding afternoon's work. Shaqiri netted a double on 34 and 42 minutes to put Bayern on course for a 4-0 win at home to SC Freiburg. It was his day until he was hit with the injury problem. The diagnosis: a torn muscle in the right thigh. And that just a few days before the first leg tie at Arsenal in the Champions League Round of 16.

“It's a shame for him,” declared Pep Guardiola who now has another attacking player sidelined for the forthcoming games following the injury to Franck Ribéry. “He can play in the middle or on the flanks. He’s dynamic and he knows where the goal is,” said Guardiola about Shaqiri, “he's another important player for me.”

The Switzerland international only made three starts in the Bundesliga before the winter break, but Shaqiri has already benefited from more time on the pitch in 2014. He was in the starting eleven for four of the five league games. He scored his first Bundesliga double against Freiburg playing in Ribéry's position. Shaq found the back of the net with two powerful strikes with his stronger left foot. The midfielder also made some telling contributions in the victory.

'He's a great player'

“I'm happy I scored as that's always important,” said the 22-year-old. Shaqiri was unclear whether he scored “one, one and a half, or two goals”. With the third goal his effort hit team-mate Thomas Müller and the ball was deflected. “It doesn't really matter who gets the goal. The important thing is the ball ends up in the net,” said Shaqiri. Müller was modest in his response: “I don't want to big myself up as a top goalscorer.”

The goal was finally awarded to Shaqiri who has scored six of his seven Bundesliga goals for Bayern at the Allianz Arena. The only away goal for the Swiss midfielder came in the 1-1 draw at Freiburg. Shaqiri is definitely ruled out for Bayern's games against Arsenal and Hannover 96. His team-mates share Guardiola's concerns. “He's a great player,” vouched his skipper Philipp Lahm. Manuel Neuer added: “Shaq can decide games. He is so unpredictable.”