Bayern Munich have been dealt a huge blow ahead of their top-of-the-table clash with Borussia Dortmund on Saturday, as French international Franck Ribery will be sidelined through injury.
Ribery, 30, was injured whilst playing for France in their incredible 3-0 win over Ukraine in the World Cup playoff second-leg last Tuesday. The winger suffered a cracked rib and will miss the massive clash between German soccer’s biggest rivals.
One of the main contenders for the FIFA Ballon D’or award, handed to the World’s best player each year, Ribery has been in sensational form for Bayern and was pivotal in their domination of German and European soccer last season.
For the 2012-13 season Ribery won the ‘Best Player in Europe award’ from UEFA and his quality is undoubted. He’s already scored 11 goals in 21 games this campaign, getting close to the 13 he bagged in the whole of last season, and the fact that his tricky wing-play won’t be on display will give Dortmund a boost as they aim to close the gap on Bundesliga leaders Bayern to just one point with a win.
Saying that, Dortmund aren’t without injury problems either.
Jurgen Klopp’s men have their entire back four missing and have drafted in Manuel Freidrich on a free transfer, who could make his Dortmund debut at the age of 34. Central defender Mats Hummels and left back Marcel Schmelzer went off injured during Germany’s 1-0 win over England on Tuesday, whilst their other first-choice center back Neven Subotic is ruled out for the season. BVB’s regular right back Lukasz Piszczek has been missing since the end of last season when he was injured in the Champions League final against Bayern.
Needless to say, even without Ribery, Hummels, Schmelzer, Subotic and Piszczek, ‘Der Classiker’ will still be an unmissable game between two of Europe’s best teams at a lively Westfalenstadion.
Does Ribery’s injury swing the match in Dortmund’s favor? Perhaps. But Borussia have had the edge over Bayern in the Bundesliga in recent years anyway, winning four and drawing two of the six games since February 2010.
Plus Dortmund will still be hurting from that last-gasp Champions League Final win by Bayern at Wembley last May… revenge is oh so sweet.
Don’t miss this game, which you can watch in the U.S. on GolTV at 12:30pm ET on Saturday.