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Franck Ribery's return may be far sooner than anyone thought

Amid all the negative news on the injury front, Pep Guardiola can at least look forward to one big name making his way back: Franck Ribery. The Frenchman made the trip for Bayern's visit to 'Gladbach.

Lennart Preiss/Getty Images

It seems like ages ago that we last saw Franck Ribery terrorizing opposing defenders on the left wing.  That's because it has been nine months, for what was originally diagnosed as a minor ankle sprain. That may change this weekend.

In today's press conference, coach Pep Guardiola mentioned that he expected his super-star winger back in the team in the coming week or weeks.  But later in the afternoon, the surprise announcement came that Ribery is traveling to the away match at Borussia Mönchengladbach.  Whether that actually means that he will be on the game day roster remains to be seen -- a few weeks ago, Holger Badstuber traveled with the team after his long injury layoff, only to be left off the gamesheet.

Original plans, according to Karl Heinz Rummenigge, was to get Ribery back and playing a few minutes prior to the winter break, in front of a home crowd, either in the last Bundesliga home game against FC ingolstadt, or against Darmstadt 98 in the DFB Pokal, which Bayern are hosting, but the injury situation may have forced Pep's hand.

Ribery has not made an appearance for Bayern since picking up an injury against Shaktar Donetsk on March 11th. What was a minor ankle sprain turned into a chronic condition that required immobilization, before a long and frustrating ehabilitation process fraught with setbacks. In light of the recent injuries to some core players, like David AlabaArjen Robben, and Douglas Costa, the return of the dynamic French forward must be music to Guardiola's ears.

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