x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Summer to forget for Ribery

Playmaker Franck Ribery will play his first match of the season tomorrow against Werder Bremen hoping to steer Bayern Munich to their first Bundesliga victory and put the summer's Real Madrid transfer saga firmly behind him.

Playmaker Franck Ribery will play his first match of the season tomorrow against Werder Bremen hoping to steer Bayern Munich to their first Bundesliga victory and put the summer's Real Madrid transfer saga firmly behind him. Ribery, 26, had publicly expressed his desire to join the Spanish giants during the close season, but Bayern, who have him under contract until 2011, refused to budge.

A protracted tug-of-war ensued between the three parties before Ribery picked up a knee injury that ruled him out for about a month and forced him to miss last weekend's Bundesliga opener, a lacklustre 1-1 draw against Hoffenheim. Ribery, who returned to full training last week, played 25 minutes in France's 1-0 win over the Faroe Islands after Bayern grudgingly allowed him to travel with the national team.

"I am certain that Franck will play on Saturday. The match with France will also have given him extra motivation," Bayern manager Uli Hoeness said on the club's website. Ribery's high-profile return is not the only highlight of the weekend as striker Lukas Podolski is also expected to make his Bundesliga debut for Cologne after returning following three hapless seasons with Bayern. Celebrated in the German city as "Prince Poldi", the 24-year-old forward will have his work cut out when Cologne take on champions and league leaders VfL Wolfsburg who seem to have carried their sparkling form that landed them to their first title over to this season.

* Reuters