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Bayern boosted by Ribery return

SoccerNews in Bundesliga 21 Mar 2009

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Bayern Munich welcome back France’s midfield maestro Franck Ribery as they host bottom side Karlsruhe on Saturday eager to close the four-point gap on league leaders Hertha Berlin.

Hertha are at Stuttgart, but defending champions Bayern are now under pressure to pick up three points at Munich’s Allianz Arena to stop Berlin running away with the Bundesliga title.

Second-placed Bayern have injury worries with both first-choice strikers Luca Toni, suffering from an achilles tendon injury, and Miroslav Klose, ankle, out of the Karlsruhe game.

In their absence, Ribery will lead Bayern’s attack having shaken off the shin injury which has plagued him for the last three weeks.

“There is a buzz around the place with Franck back,” said Bayern coach Jurgen Klinsmann. “He?s completely fit again and desperate to play.”

But Toni is still not ready and Klinsmann does not want to risk his hit-man with Bayern set to play their Champions League quarter-final next month.

“We have to be patient for a little while longer,” said Klinsmann after Toni withdrew from the Italian squad for next week’s World Cup quailifier against Montenegro.

“The injury is a lot better, but it?s still not 100-percent gone.”

Karlsruhe have won just two of their last ten games and are currently three points behind their nearest rivals at the foot of the table.

League leaders Hertha travel to Stuttgart without midfielder Patrick Ebert who has been dropped to the reserves having been questioned by police in the early hours of Wednesday morning following an incident in which three cars were damaged.

With eight goals in his last six league games, Hertha striker Andrei Voronin will be looking to test Stuttgart’s ex-Germany goalkeeper Jens Lehmann who conceeded four goals last weekend against Werder Bremen.

“We were missing almost everything needed to win a game against Bremen,” said Stuttgart coach Markus Babbel whose side are sixth in the league.

“We never got into the game and failed to perform as we had done in previous games, it gave us plenty to work on ahead of Berlin.”

Fourth-placed Hamburg are in Gelsenkirchen on Sunday to take on Schalke who announced ex-Germany goalkeeper Oliver Khan is expected to be their new team manager.

Third-placed Wolfsburg are at strugglers Arminia Bielefeld with strikers Grafite on 17 goals and Edin Dzeko on 13 and the pair have scored 20 goals between them in their last seven games.

With coach Jurgen Klopp having signed a contract extension which keeps him at Dortmund until 2012, his side host Werder Bremen who are looking to build on their 4-0 win over Stuttgart last weekend looking to build on his league standing.

Former league leaders Hoffenheim are at home to midtable Hanover and are looking to pick up their first win in seven league games to get back into the league race and lift themselves up from fifth.

Seventh-placed Bayer Leverkusen is home to Eintracht Frankfurt, while Energie Cottbus need points from their game against Cologne to try and break out of the bottom three.

Friday

Borussia M’gladbach v VfL Bochum

Saturday

Borussia Dortmund v Werder Bremen, Arminia Bielefeld v VfL Wolfsburg, Hoffenheim v Hanover 96, Bayer Leverkusen v Eintracht Frankfurt, VfB Stuttgart v Hertha Berlin, Bayern Munich v Karlsruhe, Energie Cottbus v Cologne

Sunday

Schalke 04 v Hamburg

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