Guardiola: Thiago injury a huge blow

The Bayern Munich coach has confirmed the midfielder’s injury he suffered against Nurnberg on Saturday is worse than first thought and it could be November before he returns

Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara could be out of action for up to three months, according to coach Pep Guardiola.

The 22-year-old summer signing from Barcelona suffered ankle ligament damage during Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Nurnberg, with an initial prognosis suggesting the midfielder could be sidelined for up to seven weeks.

However, Guardiola has confirmed the absence is likely to be much longer, and conceded losing his playmaker would be a “huge blow”.

“He will be out of action for more than two months – possibly until halfway through November,” Guardiola said.

“He played on for more than 20 minutes after picking up the injury, which shows that he has a lot of character.”

The Spain international was withdrawn just after the hour mark of Saturday’s Bavarian derby at the Allianz Arena, with scans showing damage to his ankle ligaments.

The loss of Thiago gives boss Guardiola further selection headaches, with a high proportion of his ample central midfield stock short of full fitness.

Javi Martinez and Mario Gotze’s appearances have been restricted so far this season, yet it appears Thiago’s lack of availability will prove most problematic to Guardiola.

He added: “This is a huge blow and we will really miss him. He has certain abilities that others don’t possess. We will have to find other solutions.”

Bayern face a visit to Freiburg in the Bundesliga on Tuesday, before meeting Chelsea in Friday’s Uefa Super Cup final in Prague.

Deschamps: Ribery deserves Ballon d'Or

The former Juventus midfielder feels the winger should be rewarded for inspiring Bayern Munich to an historic treble last season

France boss Didier Deschamps believes that Franck Ribery deserves to win the 2013 Ballon d’Or.

The 30-year-old winger played a key role in Bayern Munich winning the Bundesliga, the DFB-Pokal and the Champions League last season and his national team coach feels that such success should not go unrecognised.

“I think Ribery deserves the Ballon d’Or for his performances, his season, and the titles he has won,” the former Juventus midfielder told RMC.

“He is a player who can claim the Ballon d’Or in the same way as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

“Franck won three titles with Bayern Munich. Few people win as many trophies in a season.”

Zinedine Zidane was the last Frenchman to lift the prestigious individual honour, in 1998, on the back of the attacking midfielder’s World Cup-winning heroics with les Bleus.

Freiburg – Bayern Munich Betting Preview: Visitors are good value to heap more misery on struggling hosts

Pep Guardiola’s side have a 100 per cent record in the Bundesliga so far and our tipster expects them to maintain that by cruising to victory on Tuesday

Bayern Munich will look to maintain their perfect record in the Bundesliga when they travel to take on stuttering Freiburg in the Bundesliga on Tuesday evening.

Pep Guardiola’s side are red-hot favourites to continue their unblemished start to the league campaign with William Hill offering just 2/7 (1.29) on the Bavarian giants collecting all three points here.

Freiburg have garnered just a solitary point from their opening three league fixtures and the enormity of the task facing Christian Streich’s side is reflected in the chunky 9/1 (10.0) quote from William Hill for a home victory. The draw is chalked up at 9/2 (5.50) with the same firm.

Freiburg have leaked eight goals in just three league matches thus far this term and their defensive deficiencies could be ruthlessly exposed by the domestic and European champions when these two sides meet on Tuesday.

Given the gulf in class between these two sides, there is some value in backing the 8/13 (1.62) quote from William Hill for Bayern (-1) in William Hill’s handicap market.

Better value, though, can be found in backing Pep Guardiola’s men to keep a clean sheet against their struggling opponents.

It should be noted that Bayern have conceded just one goal in three league outings thus far this term and, with that in mind, William Hill’s 6/5 (2.20) quote for Bayern to win to nil looks to be overly-generous and should be backed accordingly.

Bayern, too, boast a vast array of attacking talent within their ranks and the in-form Mario Mandzukic is likely to pose problems for Freiburg’s leaky rearguard.

The Croatian striker has scored two goals in his opening three Bundesliga fixtures so far this term and is sure to prove a popular selection with punters at 5/2 (3.50) in William Hill’s first scorer market.

Another player likely to cause Freiburg heartache is German international Thomas Muller. The 23-year-old striker has yet to score this season but looks to represent excellent value at a juicy 3/1 (4.0) with William Hill to break his duck for the season with the opening goal of the game on Tuesday.

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Willie Duncan is a freelance sports journalist. Willie, from Edinburgh, has covered Scottish football for over 10 years and he specialises in football betting markets from across Europe. You can also follow Willie on Twitter

Guardiola wary of Freiburg threat

The European champions will be looking to maintain a winning start to their Bundesliga title defence but the Spaniard has warned of the hosts’ formidable home form

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola insists that his players will have to be on top of their game if they are to overcome Freiburg on Tuesday night.

The Bavarians currently boast a 100 per cent record in the Bundesliga, having won their opening three games of the season.

However, Guardiola is taking nothing for granted against a Freiburg side that finished fifth last term.

“We want to continue our run,” the former Barcelona coach is quoted as saying by his club’s official website. “But they achieved unbelievable things last season.

“Freiburg generate huge pressure when they attack. They are highly capable in the build-up but also very aggressive in defence.

“I know how tough it will be. We’ll have to play well, because if we don’t, we won’t win.”

Midfield ace Bastian Schweinsteiger is also extremely wary of the threat posed by Christian Streich’s men, even though they have only picked up a point from their first three games of the new campaign.

“Tactically, they’re very disciplined,” the Germany international mused. “They are also very strong at home.

“They’ve come on really well under [coach] Christian Streich. We’ll have to concentrate hard right from the start and we might need to be patient.

“The most important thing for us at the moment is to take the points and keep a clean sheet.”

Bayern’s trip to Freiburg has been brought forward because of the European champions’ involvement in Friday’s European Super Cup clash with Chelsea.