When Carlo Ancelotti lines up his starting eleven against Eintracht Frankfurt tomorrow, he will have to do without the services of the red-hot Frenchman Franck Ribery. According to kicker and confirmed by the club, Ribery is suffering from muscular problems and will not travel with the team to Frankfurt. He played just yesterday in a Paulaner Fan Dream match against a team of very lucky fans.
Ribery’s absence turns what seemed like a sure lineup into a string of uncertainties. It now seems all but certain that Arjen Robben will indeed make his second Bundesliga start to compensate for the missing offensive production of Ribery. As Ancelotti stated, "He practiced this week without any problems and is ready for tomorrow."
However, replacing the left winger Ribery with the right winger Robben throws a wrench into Ancelotti's now customary 4-3-3 lineup fronted by Ribery, Robert Lewandowski, and Thomas Müller usually playing on the right. Would Robben's return push Müller to the bench, or will we at last see Ancelotti devise a new formation to maximize his offense - with Kingsley Coman potentially seeing some action on the left?
Several other players may or may not play come Saturday. In particular, Arturo Vidal may be rested after returning to Munich from international duty in South America. Asked about the midfielder, Ancelotti said, "He was tired after coming back yesterday; we'll have to see later."
While Javi Martinez and Douglas Costa seem to be recovering from their respective injuries, it remains to be seen whether they are fit to play. On Thursday, Costa warmed up with the team and then trained individually, while Martinez join in the team practice toward the end. Asked about Martinez, who missed Spain's World Cup Qualifiers do to an adductor injury, Ancelotti said, "I want to take a look at him today."
If Javi indeed misses the match, Ancelotti might debut the German national team duo Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels for the first time in the starting lineup, but Holger Badstuber might also celebrate his return to the team. Everything depends on practice today.