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Valuable match practice

Hour for Ribéry as Bayern beat Ingolstadt

After more than three months on the sidelines with injury, Franck Ribéry looked much more like his old self with mazy dribbling and inspirational attacking ideas in a full-up friendly workout on Tuesday afternoon. A Bayern XI beat third division leaders Ingolstadt 2-0 at Munich’s Säbener Strasse training facility, with Ribery starting the match and completing a 60-minute run-out with no apparent problems.

After a 20-minute appearance in the Bundesliga against Bremen, Tuesday’s test was another important step for Ribéry as he seeks to recover his place in the Bayern starting line-up. Some 500 spectators followed the Frenchman’s every move intently. The final result, courtesy of a second-half Deniz Yilmaz brace against a quality Ingolstädt side, was of secondary importance on the day.

“It was a good test for me. There’s been no reaction from the knee, which is the really important thing,” Ribéry said afterwards, although he declined to name a date for a return to duty in the starting line-up. “I’m working hard towards exactly that, but I’m not 100 percent fit yet. I need the competitive practice now. Playing today has done me good.” The superstar is hoping to complete “at least a half” of Saturday’s league meeting with Mainz.

Four youth hopefuls

A dozen Bayern staff worked hard before kick-off to clear the main training pitch behind the Säbener Strasse ServiceCenter of the snow which had fallen for several hours in the morning. The surface was slippery but eminently playable, although the weather conditions remained challenging for the game.