Bayern Munich – Hamburg Preview: Ribery and Rafinha back in the frame

Leg injuries which the pair sustained have healed and they are set to feature against a team which held them to a stalemate earlier in the season

David Alaba is glad that Franck Ribery and Rafinha are back in the first-team picture at Bayern Munich as they prepare for Saturday’s Bundesliga match against Hamburg.

The duo were back in training on Monday to boost a Bayern side who have faltered since the mid-season break, with three games yielding just four points.

Ribery and Rafinha have missed all of those matches, the Frenchman having sustained a thigh injury and the full-back having damaged ankle ligaments.

But with those injuries behind them and a week of training under their belts, the two look set to feature as Bayern seek to reassert their authority in the league.

“We want to move on up. We’ll prepare well this week and then hopefully give our fans at the Allianz Arena something to shout about,” defender Alaba told the club’s official website ahead of the 100th meeting between Bayern and Hamburg.

“It’s good to have Franck and Rafa back. We need them as they’re both very important players.”

Bayern will not need any reminding of the difficulties that Hamburg can pose, with September’s Bundesliga meeting ending goalless.

Pep Guardiola’s side did have more joy the following month in a DFB Pokal clash that ended 3-1 to the visitors at the Imtech Arena.

Ribery was on the scoresheet in that match, as indeed was Alaba, and Bayern are generally used to beating Hamburg.

Last term they did it three times, scoring 12 goals in the process – the same number they racked up in just two games the season before.

Hamburg have to go back to 2009 for their last win over Bayern, with their last victory at the Allianz coming two years earlier.

But Josef Zinnbauer might prefer to reflect on more recent history, as his first game at the Hamburg helm was the stalemate against Bayern.

He has also guided his side to back-to-back victories, which has lifted them four points clear of the bottom three, and only three points shy of seventh-placed Hoffenheim.

And there is belief among his charges, with Croatian forward Ivica Olic predicting a shock.

“I think we can cause an upset,” he told Sport Bild. “But even a draw would be quite special.”

Bayern’s lead at the Bundesliga summit is eight points and they have won nine of their 10 home league matches in this campaign, conceding just three goals.

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