Munich - Franck Ribery will miss FC Bayern Munich's first game of the Bundesliga season as the record German champions' bid to wrestle the title back from Borussia Dortmund's two-year stronghold commences with a Bavarian derby at league newcomers SpVgg Greuther Fürth.
Ribery has not been able to train since being replaced at half time of Monday night's 4-0 win in the DFB Cup against SSV Jahn Regensburg and Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes will not take any risks on the opening day of the season. "Franck will definitely not play," he revealed on Friday.
Training ground, not football pitch
The French forward, who set up the opening goal for Mario Mandzukic on Monday night, has had a fever all week and he will do some light work at Bayern's training ground tomorrow rather than appearing on the field at the Trolli ARENA. "Anything else would be counter-productive," added Heynckes. "When a player has a fever for a few days, he needs a few days to be able to work again fully."
Ribery's loss could be Xherdan Shaqiri's gain as the Switzerland international prepares for his Bundesliga debut. His rousing second-half performance against Regensburg has already made him a fans' favourite after just 45 minutes in a Bayern shirt. "I am desperate to play," he told Munich's Az newspaper. "I want to make this team stronger, not just be an additional player. My aim is to be a first-team regular. That means one star player will always have to sit on the bench."
Finally in the big time
Fürth coach Mike Büskens has no such star player on his bench, nor does he have one in his starting XI. The team is the only star in Fürth and, after 15 years in Bundesliga 2, the club nicknamed the 'unpromotables' due to their regular near misses - they missed out on promotion on the final day of the season no fewer than eight times - finally broke into the big time. Having shaken off that label, Büskens now wants Fürth to show they are worthy of their place among Germany's top 18 clubs. "We were always being made out as the side who would never make it when it came down to it," he told the FAZ. "Promotion has liberated Fürth's soul. People used to say always that we could not do it, we did not want to do it and you would always get laughed at."
Nobody is laughing now, though, and Büskens would like to see Bayern laughing on the other side of their face on Saturday. "The first Bundesliga game in the club's history against Germany's record champions - that is something special for this club and for this city," he said.
One of the heroes of Fürth's promotion, Olivier Occean, has moved on while ten new faces have arrived this summer. Djiby Fall is one of the new arrivals and he should lead Fürth's attack on Saturday. Mario Mandzukic is Bayern's first-choice striker in the absence of Mario Gomez while Emre Can is Heynckes' only injury doubt due to a thigh strain.
SpVgg Greuther Fürth: Grün - Nehrig, Kleine, Mavraj, Schmidtgal - Fürstner, Petsos - Sararer, Tyrala, Mikkelsen - Fall.
FC Bayern Munich: Neuer - Can, Badstuber, Boateng, Lahm - Kroos, Luiz Gustavo - Shaqiri, Müller, Robben - Mandzukic.