Ribery in Bayern squad for Gladbach clash

Franck Ribery is set to make his Bayern Munich comeback against Borussia Monchengladbach after a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

Pep Guardiola has included Franck Ribery in his squad for Bayern Munich’s Bundesliga match away against Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday.

The former France international last featured for Bayern in the Champions League win over Shakhtar Donetsk back in March and has since been out of action due to an ankle problem.

Ribery recently resumed training and Guardiola has deemed him fit enough to add him to his squad for this weekend’s encounter.

“The most important thing is that Franck is pain free,” the Bayern coach said at a news conference.

“Ribery laughed all the time on Thursday during training. That is the greatest gift for me as a coach.

GOALREAD MORE  | Who are Guardiola’s undroppable players?  

“Of course it will take some time until he is 100 per cent fit again after seven months on the sidelines due to injury.”

Bayern were initially expected not to rush the 32-year-old back into action after his lengthy absence, but they fast-forwarded his comeback after Douglas Costa and Arjen Robben were both ruled out of Saturday’s trip to Gladbach with muscular problems.

Furthermore, the reigning Bundesliga champions will be without David Alaba (ankle), Thiago Alcantara (knee), Juan Bernat (groin) and Mario Gotze (adductor).

Guardiola laughs off Real Madrid link

As the pressure on Rafa Benitez continues to rise despite a vote of confidence, the ex-Barcelona coach has been mooted as a shock replacement

Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola has laughed off suggestions he could replace Rafael Benitez at Real Madrid.

Benitez is under pressure at the Santiago Bernabeu following their 4-0 Clasico humbling by Barcelona last month while speculation persists about a difficult working relationship with a number of the club’s senior players, including Cristiano Ronaldo.

Madrid president Florentino Perez has publicly backed the former Liverpool and Inter boss but rumours persist that his days in the Spanish capital could be numbered.

One name that has been thrown up as a potential replacement is Guardiola, who has yet to commit to extending his Bayern deal that expires at the end of the season and has also been linked with Manchester City and Manchester United.

GOALREAD MORE  | Who are Guardiola’s undroppable players?  

The 44-year-old was quick to dismiss the subject at his Bayern media conference on Friday, however.

He laughed: “No, no, that would not be good. We would not fit together.

“No, there is nothing to report for you journalists.”

Guardiola enjoyed great success with Madrid’s arch-rivals Barca, winning three La Liga titles, two Copa del Rey crowns, two Champions Leagues and two FIFA Club World Cup trophies between 2008 and 2012. He has also been an outspoken supporter of Catalan independence.

Coman has rare dribbling skills – Guardiola

The Bayern Munich coach says the 19-year-old is a rare talent and is impressed by the way he has adapted to life at the German giants

Kingsley Coman has earned rich praise from Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola, who hailed the ease with which the youngster has settled into life with the Bundesliga champions.

Coman joined Bayern from Juventus on a two-year loan deal back in August, with an option to make the move permanent for an additional €21 million.

The Frenchman has turned in a series of impressive displays, helping Bayern to remain unbeaten at the top of the table ahead of Saturday’s visit to Borussia Monchengladbach. 

Guardiola said: “You always expect the best when you sign a new player, but you also have in the back of your mind that he might need some time.

GOALREAD MORE  | Who are Guardiola’s undroppable players?

“But it’s madness how fast Kingsley has integrated at Bayern – and the same goes or Douglas Costa. Kingsley is still young, so we should not get carried away. He still has plenty of room for improvement, but it is clear that he has a lot of potential.

“He has rare dribbling skills that you do not see very often, but his final ball, giving assists, that is where he can still improve.

“But he is still very young and I have only ever worked with one player who could do it all at such a young age.”

The 19-year-old has scored three goals in eight Bundesliga appearances so far, setting up two more.

Guardiola a fan of Mane as Bayern's injury problems persist

The Catalan coach has admitted he likes the 23-year-old, but wouldn’t talk about if there was any firm interest in signing him

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola says he is a fan of Southampton’s Sadio Mane but stopped short of suggesting the Bundesliga champions are interested in signing him.

The 23-year-old has been one of Southampton’s best players since arriving last year, prompting links with fellow Premier League club Manchester United in recent months.

Reports this week speculated that United could face competition from Bayern for Mane’s signature ahead of the January transfer window.

Despite injuries to the likes of Douglas Costa, Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, Guardiola would not be drawn on the likelihood of a move for the forward.

“I know him from his time in Salzburg and I thought ‘wow’. He is quick, a good player, but I’m not talking about transfers, I am not responsible,” he told reporters.

GOALREAD MORE  | Who are Guardiola’s undroppable players?  

Guardiola will be without Robben, Costa and David Alaba for Saturday’s trip to Borussia Monchengladbach, while Thiago Alacantara, Juan Bernat, Mario Gotze and Franck Ribery are also still sidelined.

Alaba is set to miss the remainder of the year with an ankle problem, while Costa has a chance to feature in the final game before the winter break against Hannover. Robben should be back in training next week after a calf issue.

“It’s too bad because they are important players, but we have other good players and we have to accept the situation,” Guardiola added.

“I hope that after the winter break, all are available again for when the important stage of the season arrives. 

“[Robben] knows his body best and he has said that he is not fit for Saturday. Thiago is much better. We don’t want to take any risks, but maybe he comes back before the winter break.

“[Ribery] has trained very well in the past two days. We are very happy. He has no problems. He had nine months pain [with an ankle injury], and now he has no more pain. This makes us happy.

“I think it will be before the winter break when he comes back into the squad but I do not know when. He is in a good mood and laughing, this is the best news for me. He has lived through the same situation as Thiago, [Holger] Badstuber or Javi Martinez in the past.”

Douglas Costa: Why I chose Bayern Munich over Chelsea

The Blues made ‘great efforts’ to sign the Brazilian from Shakhtar Donetsk, but the winger instead opted to move to Germany to work with Pep Guardiola in the Bundesliga

Douglas Costa decided to join Bayern Munich instead of Chelsea because he was convinced he would learn more under Pep Guardiola.

The Brazilian courted interest over the summer from Chelsea and Jose Mourinho, who made “great efforts” to sign the winger from Shakhtar Donetsk.

Costa spoke openly about his admiration for Mourinho, but was eventually drawn to Bayern by the prospect of working with Guardiola.

“Chelsea also wanted me,” Costa told Bild. “There was great interest and they made great efforts, but I wanted to join Pep Guardiola by all means. And Bayern.

“It was a conscious decision in favour of Pep and Bayern because I was convinced that I can learn more here.”

Costa has quickly adapted to life at Bayern, scoring two goals and providing seven assists in 12 Bundesliga games so far this season.

But the Brazilian is unavailable for Saturday’s clash Borussia Monchengladbach due to injury.