Munich - Bundesliga leaders FC Bayern München could be about to welcome back UEFA European Footballer of the Year Franck Ribery for Sunday's home clash with Eintracht Frankfurt (kick-off 17:30 CET).
'We went for it'
The France international has spent a month on the sidelines nursing various muscle complaints, but that's not to say the Bavarians have been any worse off in the interim.
"I'm not dissatisfied. It's going very well, but we're yet to win a trophy this season. There are no prizes for topping a list," Bayern forward Thomas Müller told fcbayern.de in the wake of Wednesday night's photo finish at VfB Stuttgart's Mercedes-Benz-Arena. "We'll never produce our full potential from the first to the last minute in every match, even if we want to. We're only human, as we all saw in the first half in Stuttgart. But we're also capable of turning games around. We picked ourselves up at half time and went for it."
That they did. Trailing to Vedad Ibisevic's opener, Pep Guardiola pulled out all the stops in a bid to protect his unblemished Bundesliga record. Sure enough, substitute Claudio Pizarro grabbed the equaliser before summer signing Thiago Alcantara served up a veritable candidate for goal of the season deep into added time. Stretching their unbeaten top-flight run to a staggering 43 matches, it was yet another frightening show of strength from the indomitable boys in red.
"It wasn’t like we were dancing in the aisles, but we were certainly relaxed and happy [after the game]. We sat down and enjoyed ourselves with a game of cards," said Müller. "I hope we maintain our momentum, have a really good game at home and entertain the fans. Frankfurt are still in Europe, so that shows what they're capable of. They're not going to gift us the points, but provided we're focused and aggressive there can only be one winner."
Ominous words of warning for Frankfurt, then, who only last weekend collected their maiden home win of the campaign following a narrow 1-0 success over Hertha Berlin. The Eagles boast a marginally greater return (W3, D2, L4) on their travels, but head coach Armin Veh was keen to stress that whatever has gone before counts for nothing when it comes to facing the league leaders.
"I'm realistic, so I cannot say we have a good chance," said Eintracht's head coach. "As an athlete you want to get the most out of it and if possible, spring a very, very, very big surprise. We'll play with something different. I think we'll make as many changes as possible in the coming weeks. It makes sense that [Alexander Madlung] gets plenty of practice - and what better place for that than against Bayern?"
Veh is expected to rest Carlos Zambrano, but is definitely without Stefano Celozzi, Bastian Oczipka, Sonny Kittel and Marc Stendera for Sunday's trip to the Allianz Arena. As for Bayern, fit-again Spanish midfielder Javi Martinez could join Ribery in a Matchday squad already, need it be said, bursting at the seams with apparently unshakeable talent.
Bayern: Neuer - Rafinha, J. Boateng, Dante, Alaba - Lahm - T. Müller, Thiago, T. Kroos, Ribery - M. Götze
Eintracht: Trapp - S. Jung, Madlung, Russ, Djakpa - Schwegler, Rode - Aigner, Meier, Barnetta - Rosenthal
Check out Bayern’s last-gasp win over Stuttgart on the Bundesliga's official YouTube channel: