Bayern’s Ribery doubtful for German Cup final
Bayern Munich star Franck Ribery admits he faces a race against time to be fit for Saturday’s Germany Cup final showdown against Borussia Dortmund in Berlin due to a back injury.
“I feel good, but 90 minutes could be difficult,” admitted the 31-year-old France star after training on Wednesday.
Ribery has been able to train with the team since Tuesday but admits it has been frustrating to miss training recently because of the pain.
“There hasn’t been much I’ve been able to do and it makes it difficult to get into a rhythm,” he said.
Bayern are also waiting on midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger who suffered a strained knee ligament in Saturday’s final Bundesliga match against Stuttgart.
Director of sport Matthias Sammer said they are looking at the injury “on a day-to-day” basis and coach Pep Guardiola will make a decision with Schweinsteiger, who has been unable to train all week.
With the Bundesliga secured, Bayern are eager to finish the season with the double to compensate for being knocked out of the Champions League’s semi-finals after a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Real Madrid.
The cup final is a repeat of the 2013 Champions League final and Berlin’s imposing Olympic Stadium will host the fourth and final time Bayern and Dortmund meet this season.
Borussia lead this season’s ‘Der Klassiker’ series with two wins to Bayern’s one after Dortmund’s 3-0 league rout in Munich last month.
“The German Cup final is on a par with the Champions League final for us,” said Guardiola who is hoping to win his fourth title of the season having also lifted the UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup.
There are several sub-plots to this season’s final.
Bayern’s Germany midfielder Mario Goetze will be up against his former club.
And Poland striker Robert Lewandowski will be making his final appearance in the yellow and black shirt before joining Bayern next season.
The hot-shot has vowed to end his four years in Dortmund with another title having scored a hat-trick against Bayern in the 2012 cup final when Munich were routed 5-2 by Dortmund.
“Lewandowski’s a fantastic player and we have to watch out for him,” conceded Bayern’s Brazil centre back Dante.
“But it’s not all about him on Saturday. They also have (Marco) Reus, (Pierre-Emerick) Aubameyang and several other players who can hurt us going forward.
“We need everyone to be at the top of their game on Saturday.
“I don’t just mean the eleven that start the match and I’m not talking about an ‘ordinary’ good performance.
“We really need 18 top, top performances to beat Borussia Dortmund.”
While Bayern’s form took a sharp dip after winning the Bundesliga title in March with a record seven games to spare, Dortmund finished the season in style by winning eight of their final ten matches, including that 3-0 victory in Munich.
“Our preparation wasn’t ideal,” said Dante with regards to Bayern’s last meeting with Dortmund.
“We played Manchester United (in the Champions League quarter-final, second leg) on the Wednesday before and were a little preoccupied with the semi-final draw on the Friday, so we perhaps didn’t give Dortmund the attention they deserve.
“That’s no excuse though – Dortmund were the better team.”
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