Munich - FC Bayern München's injured left-sided specialist David Alaba is aiming for a return to the first team in January.
Knee 'feels fine'
The Austrian Sportsman of the Year damaged ligaments in his right knee in a 2-0 UEFA Champions League victory against AS Roma on 5 November and was ruled out for the rest of 2014 after it was confirmed he would need surgery. With his rehabilitation appearing to be going well, however, he is already eyeing being back on the pitch.
"My knee is looking good right now and it feels fine," said the Vienna-born international to fcbayern.de. "I want to be back in the fold at our training camp at the start of January."
In his absence, Alaba's team-mates will be up against his former colleagues this weekend when the Reds host TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, the club at which he enjoyed a spell on loan in 2011, and despite missing out, it is a match he is looking forward to. "It's obviously disappointing not to be involved against my old club, but I'm confident we'll win it," said the 22-year-old.
Schweinsteiger to return
Meanwhile, Bayern have confirmed that midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger will be included in the matchday squad to face Hoffenheim after missing close to four months with a knee problem sustained in a pre-season friendly against the MLS-Allstars back in August.
Head coach Pep Guardiola seemed delighted by the return of the man named Germany's captain following their 2014 FIFA World Cup triumph: "He isn't quite 100 per cent and we need to get him back to his old form, but he's been one of the most important players at Bayern in the last ten years." Team-mate Thomas Müller added, "We can profit from his experience and it'll be a big plus to have him back."
You can see more preview action ahead of Bayern vs. Hoffenheim below courtesy of the official Bundesliga YouTube channel: