BERLIN (Reuters) – Bayern Munich’s versatile defender David Alaba will be out with an ankle injury until after the winter break next year, coach Pep Guardiola said on Friday but Franck Ribery is close to a comeback after almost nine months out.
Austria international Alaba will miss Saturday’s league game against Borussia Moenchengladbach along with injured Arjen Robben and Douglas Costa as they look to snap their opponents’ nine-game unbeaten run.
Alaba had been injured in their league win over Schalke 04 late last month.
“I hope (Alaba) can train with us again at the start of the year,” Guardiola told reporters.
Brazilian Costa, a driving force in Bayern’s unbeaten Bundesliga run with the champions eight points clear at the top having won 13 of 14 matches, is nursing a thigh muscle injury that will keep him out for several weeks.
Bayern are already without injured Mario Goetze, Juan Bernat and Thiago Alcantara.
There was some good news, however, with winger Ribery set for a much awaited comeback before the end of the year after more than eight months out injured.
Ribery has not played since an ankle injury sustained in March and which initially was to rule him out for a few days. But the 32-year-old had to repeatedly postpone his comeback and returned to team training for the first time this week.
“He trained really well in the past two days and we are very satisfied,” Guardiola said. “He is pain-free. I expect he will make the squad before the end of the year but I don’t know exactly when.”
Bayern, looking for a record fourth consecutive Bundesliga title, are through to the Champions League knockout stage.
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)