Munich: Bayern Munich have been dealt a blow ahead of their opening Champions League game against Manchester City on Wednesday after it emerged that French midfielder Franck Ribery will miss out through injury.
Ribery made a goalscoring comeback against VfB Stuttgart in the Bundesliga on Saturday in his first appearance of the season. But in a pre-match press conference on Tuesday, Bayern manager Pep Guardiola revealed that the increasingly fragile Ribery is injured again. "After training the physio said that Franck would have to go to the doctor," he said.
"Today they told me that he couldn't play. That's all." Guardiola was vague in his responses to further questions on the issue, suggesting that he did not know how long Ribery would be out for. But he said that the 31-year-old was also likely to miss Saturday's league game against Hamburg.
The Spaniard did not confirm the nature of Ribery's injury, but seemed to suggest that it was a recurrence of the knee tendon problem that caused the player to miss the start of the season. "When he's not here it's because he's in pain," Guardiola said.
"He played 20 minutes [against Stuttgart] and after that he couldn't train. The doctor and the physio said he couldn't play." Guardiola confirmed that Dutch winger Arjen Robben had returned to training and also said that defender Mehdi Benatia is making progress too. The Moroccan international, signed for EUR30 million (Â£23.9m, $39.6m) from Roma, has yet to feature for Bayern this season.
"Benatia is a lot better. The last two days he's trained very well. He came here with very little training and a muscular problem. "We didn't want to take any chances in this position." Guardiola, though, insisted he had no problem with the player, who he signed as a replacement for Javi Martinez, who is out for months with a serious knee injury. "I'm sorry for the prestigious journalist who said that I had a problem with Benatia,"
Guardiola continued. "We have no problem with Benatia. We're very happy with him and his character." Bayern face a tough opening fixture in Group E against English champions Manchester City, who won 3-2 in the Allianz Arena in last season's group stage. But Guardiola rejected suggestions that City needed to win in Munich last season to give them the belief that they could go on and win the competition.
"Last season they were able to win the Champions League and this season they are ready to win the Champions League like 8, 9 or 10 teams more. "We would like to be part of this 8-10 teams who can win this trophy. "But last season City were a very strong team. That's why they won the Premier League."
After City, Bayern face Roma and CSKA Moscow in Group E. With that in mind, Bayern defender Jerome Boateng indicated that a draw against City would not be acceptable. "I think it's a bad result for us because we play at home and of course we want to win the first game," the former City centre back said. "It's very important for the future in the group."