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Ribéry and Toni out of Belgrade clash

News that's automatically retrieved from the official FC Bayern Munich website.

Ribéry and Toni out of Belgrade clash

Postby FCBayernNews » Wed Oct 24, 2007 1:46 pm


A string of late withdrawals, including Franck Ribery, Luca Toni and two key defenders, means Bayern will field a severely depleted side in the UEFA Cup against FK Crvena Zvezda in Belgrade on Thursday.

The first signs of winter weather in Munich over the last few days have taken a heavy toll on the Bayern squad. The severe flu which <a href="/en/news/news/2007/13817.php?fcb_sid=a6fcb6938fc3321f954d8837396164ed" target="_top" class="content_link">sidelined Martin Demichelis</a> earlier this week has now forced prolific marksman Toni to pull out of the European group phase opener against the Serbs.

Toni’s was not the only vacant seat when the Bayern team bus left the Säbener Straße for the airport on Wednesday morning. Midfield maestro Ribery remained in Munich after failing to recover from a stiff hamstring, while Andreas Ottl reported sick with a gastrointestinal infection, although the defensive midfielder could yet recover in time to join up with the squad on Thursday. Finally, Daniel van Buyten (bruised thigh) was also ruled out of the trip to the Balkans, despite cautious optimism over the Belgian's fitness the previous day.

<b>Comeback for Lahm</b>

Philipp Lahm is included in the squad for the first time since hurting a knee in early September, and may be immediately re-introduced to the match action in the absence of two of the club’s key defenders. In a practice match at training on Tuesday, the Germany full-back took his place in a back four also including Lucio, Christian Lell and Marcell Jansen.

The likely replacement for Toni, who scored twice in the preliminary round tie against Os Belenenses, will be Lukas Podolski, with Bastian Schweinsteiger set to come in for Ribéry. “Unfortunately, we’ve lost some quality players,” coach Ottmar Hitzfeld reflected shortly before boarding the plane to the Serbian capital. “But on the other hand, it’s a chance for some of the players who’ve been sitting on the bench recently and haven’t been able to show what they can do.”

<b>Rummenigge: Squad has depth</b>

Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge remains confident: “We have quality on the bench, so we’re not worried about the match.” The matchday squad is set to include youngsters Mats Hummels and Toni Kroos, but Hitzfeld has opted to omit Valerien Ismael, who resumed the team training programme a week ago and was a member of the matchday squad in Bochum last weekend.

Bayern are also still without long-term casualties Willy Sagnol and Oliver Kahn, but FK Crvena Zvezda have no such worries and will be at full strength, although the Serbs are adopting a respectful tone ahead of the meeting with the Bundesliga leaders. “We’ll have to play brilliantly. Basically, we’ll need a perfect display to beat these unbelievably strong Germans,” Colombian playmaker Mauricio Molina declared.
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