Guardiola: Ribery can play if he can train without pain

The Frenchman is primed to make a comeback in the Stuttgart clash but new signing Mehdi Benatia is likely to be left out

Franck Ribery has convinced Pep Guardiola that he is ready to make his first appearance of the season when Bayern Munich face Stuttgart.

The former France winger has not played since Bayern’s DFB-Pokal triumph in May due to a knee injury.

Ribery missed the World Cup with a back problem and has since retired from international duty, but Bayern coach Guardiola is set to unleash the former Olympique de Marseille man on Stuttgart in Saturday’s Bundesliga clash at the Allianz Arena.

“If he doesn’t have any problems with his patella tendon, then he can play.” said the former Barcelona coach.

“The last 10 to fourteen days he has trained well, almost without pain.”

Guardiola has warned not to expect too much, too soon from Ribery following a lengthy lay-off, however.

He added: “Let’s not forget he’s made perhaps one 90-minute appearance in the last three to four months.”

The Spaniard revealed that recent signing Mehdi Benatia is not ready to make his Bayern bow this weekend.

He said: “Benatia still needs time, but he will help us sooner or later. We have signed a great player.”

Bayern recorded two wins over Stuttgart last season by virtue of last-minute goals and Guardiola has not forgotten the challenge posed by Armin Veh’s outfit.

“Stuttgart aren’t easy,” he warned.

“It’s an important month. The players have trained very well. They’re fit and ready.”

Guardiola said that all the players away on international duty have returned fully fit, but there are doubts over Xabi Alonso and Arjen Robben, while Bastian Schweinsteiger, Javi Martinez, Thiago, Rafinha and Mitchell Weiser are all out.

Robben: Guardiola is to thank for my fantastic form

The winger has been Bayern’s stand-out player in the last 12 months and he thanks the former Barcelona trainer for his career boost

Arjen Robben has credited Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola with his impressive form in the past 12 months.

The Dutch winger star seemed to be fading in 2012-13 when he fell out of favour under former coach Jupp Heynckes, though a late-season revival ensured he started and scored in the Champions League final, which the Bavarians won.

Many suspected that Robben would be sold by Guardiola upon his arrival last summer, but instead the Netherlands international has thrived and is arguably better than ever in his career right now – something he believes is down to the motivation his Spanish coach has given him.

“I would not say the pressure dropped,” he told the Bundesliga’s official website.

“As the new Bayern coach, Pep Guardiola said to me: ‘You have proved your class, remember to not enjoy yourself too much and always keep your confidence up’.

“It’s difficult to say if this is the strongest Bayern team I’ve been part of, maybe it is. It is important this season that we did not have many injuries and can rely on a good squad.

“With Pep Guardiola as our coach, we do not have to adjust much. We just have to wait until everyone is back on top form after the World Cup.

“This is just the beginning of a difficult season. But the Bayern squad are more together than ever before.”

Robben also stressed that Guardiola lives and breathes football, joking that the former Barcelona boss would be happy to discuss tactics in the middle of the night.

“This season our aim is to be tactically flexible – this is something important for Guardiola,” the ex-Real Madrid forward added. “He is always looking to spring a tactical surprise.

“It shows that he lives football 24 hours a day. I guess you could call him at 3am to talk to him about tactics! I bet he’d even be happy with the call!”

Bayern are back in action against Stuttgart on Saturday following a two-week international break.

Schweinsteiger: I need time to heal

The newly-named Germany captain referenced his injury woes in 2013 and says, following the World Cup this summer, he is easing himself back to full fitness

Bayern Munich midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger has stressed he is easing his way back to full fitness as he needs time to heal after a hectic 2013-14.

The 30-year-old was an integral part of Germany’s World Cup win this summer, but he struggled with injury throughout the preceding season as he twice required surgery on his ankle.

This time it is the newly-named Mannschaft skipper’s knee which has seen him sidelined and, although Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge stressed the injury is not a long-term one, the 30-year-old is not willing to risk rushing back and aggravating the issue.

“I had an operation on my ankle in June 2013, then I had to have it operated on again in December,” Schweinsteiger told Welt. “After the World Cup, my body needs a little time to heal, but I’m progressing.

“I’m at the peak age for a footballer and I’m looking forward to the games I have ahead of me. I think I will be fully fit again in the next few weeks.”

Schweinsteiger also spoke about Joachim Low naming him Philipp Lahm’s successor as Germany captain and the midfielder is honoured to have been given the chance to lead his country permanently.

“I’m proud of it,” he added. “It is a great honour for me, it means huge responsibility and obligation. Philipp did outstanding in the role and I hope to follow him well.”

Bayern will be without Schweinsteiger on Saturday when they face Stuttgart in their third Bundesliga tie of 2014-15.

Bayern Munich-Stuttgart preview: Ribery poised to return to action

The 31-year-old has recovered from knee and back problems at the perfect time for Pep Guardiola, who has a number of other players sidelined

Star winger Franck Ribery could make his first Bayern Munich appearance of the season against Stuttgart on Saturday.

Ribery has not played a competitive match for Bayern since their DFB-Pokal win in May, but has recovered from a knee problem.

The 31-year-old missed the World Cup for France with a back injury and promptly retired from international football following the tournament in order to prolong his playing days at club level – and he is now raring to go for Saturday.

“I feel good and I’m fit for Saturday,” Ribery told Bayern’s official website.

“Now I need to get into a rhythm.”

Bayern sit fifth in the embryonic Bundesliga table after they followed a lucky 2-1 win over Wolfsburg with a 1-1 draw at Schalke prior to the international break.

The defending champions have yet to keep a clean sheet in a competitive match in 2014-15 and coach Pep Guardiola will hope that changes at the Allianz Arena this weekend. 

Most of Bayern’s players have been busy during the recent international break, but club captain Philipp Lahm enjoyed some rare time off after ending his Germany career following their successful World Cup campaign.

Bayern’s treatment room saw plenty of action during the Bundesliga hiatus, though, as the likes of Arjen Robben (ankle), Xabi Alonso (foot), Mehdi Benatia (sprain) and Pepe Reina (pelvic strain) all worked on their fitness.

The quartet are all expected to be fit, but new Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger, fellow midfielder Thiago (both knee) and defender Rafinha (ankle) remain on the sidelines.

Stuttgart – Bundesliga champions in 2007 – have recorded just one top-half finish in their last four seasons.

A 15th-place finish last term saw them just one spot above Hamburg, who had to enter a relegation play-off to ensure their survival.

A promising 1-1 draw at Borussia Monchengladbach in their first match of the season was followed by a 2-0 home defeat to newly promoted Cologne.

Coach Armin Veh is hopeful that new signing Filip Kostic will quickly find his feet after joining from Groningen last month.

The striker – who cost a reported €6million – is yet to score in any of his three club appearances this season.

Bayern have won their last eight Bundesliga matches against Stuttgart, scoring 22 goals in the process.

Dante: I was surprised we signed Alonso

The Brazilian defender had no idea Bayern Munich were going to buy the midfielder but says his “incredible experience” will prove to be a massive boost

Bayern Munich defender Dante says he was surprised by the club’s signing of Xabi Alonso from Real Madrid.

The Bundesliga champions bought the midfielder this summer for a reported fee of €10 million and the former Spain international made his debut the following day in a 1-1 draw with Schalke.

Dante was caught off guard by the arrival of the 32-year-old, but says the ex-Liverpool man’s experience will help Bayern as they attempt to win the treble in 2014-15.

“With Mehdi Benatia I wasn’t surprised,” he told TZ. “But with Xabi Alonso it all happened incredibly fast and we knew nothing about it in advance.

“We are playing in three competitions and want to win all three, so we need a lot of players. I stand by my opinion – when players come with the quality of Xabi or Mehdi, it is always good.

“I’ve only trained with him a few times but in the game against Schalke you already saw that he is a great personality. Xabi has an incredible amount of experience and can help us right away.”

The centre-back added that Alonso will have to adapt quickly to the German culture of the club, revealing that even coach Pep Guardiola rarely speaks Spanish.

Dante continued: “We always try to speak German and Pep only speaks German. He tries to explain everything in German and I speak very little Spanish with him.

“I try to help Xabi and Pepe Reina and sometimes translate speeches for them. Those two are talking to each other in Spanish and that is normal, but the culture at Bayern is German.”