BERLIN Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben is still battling to get fit and will miss the season's biggest match when the Bundesliga leaders host champions Borussia Dortmund, coach Jupp Heynckes said on Friday.
Heynckes told reporters midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, rested in Wednesday's 2-0 win at Freiburg to avoid a booking that could have ruled him out of the derby, would be back in the squad for Saturday's game.
"(Robben) still needs to get fit," Heynckes told a news conference. "It is understood that Bastian will be back in the squad."
Dutch international Robben has been dogged by a string of injuries again this season but his team has surged to a 10-point lead at the top with 12 wins in 14 matches for the best start of the Bundesliga's 50-year history.
"My aim is for us to extend our lead at the top of the table. It is a prestige duel between the league's top two teams," Heynckes said. "I hope my team is aware that it needs to come up with an above-average performance tomorrow."
Saturday's clash against third-placed Dortmund, 11 points adrift, is not only vital in Bayern's bid to end a two-season silverware drought.
They are also eager to snap Dortmund's five-match winning streak against them as they clinched back-to-back league titles and a German Cup last season with a 5-2 demolition of Bayern.
"This time we have a jaw again," Heynckes said. "Last year my grandmother did not have teeth. This year she has a denture and can bite again," he said, using a curious example, much to the amusement of attending journalists .
Defeat to Bayern would all but end Dortmund's title hopes leaving them 14 points adrift.
Both teams have also qualified for the Champions League knockout stage.
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Alison Wildey)
Trending On Reuters
Victor Conte, the man at the centre of what was the United States' biggest doping scandal, believes the latest drug scandal to rock the sports world is all part of a coverup to protect the bottom line. Full Article | Related Story