Franck Ribery close to Bayern team training comeback - Matthias Sammer
Franck Ribery could return to Bayern Munich team training later in November after being sidelined since March 2015, with the club's sporting executive Matthias Sammer describing the winger as a "fighter."
Ribery, 32, has been out of action since injuring his right ankle eight months ago in a Champions League match against Shakthar Donetsk.
The former France international has in the past voiced his frustration about the slow healing process, and Bayern have so far failed to give an exact return date for Ribery.
However, Ribery has resumed individual training at Bayern's training facilities on Sabener Strasse in recent weeks, and, according to Sammer, is closing in on a return to team training.
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"The trend's positive, he's feeling well," Sammer told kicker. "He's already back on the pitch completing laps. He's back in his football boots, and has already completed different runs with the ball. We are out of the deep valley."
The sporting executive said that Ribery has been seen joking at the training ground, and that while "it is still not an easy path," the winger will eventually return despite reports suggesting he may never play football again.
"He's a fighter," Sammer said. "He has always signalled that he has not given up hope, and that was the most important message for me."
While Sammer did not give a return date for Ribery, kicker reported that Bayern hope he can resume team training in November, and be back on the pitch when the league restarts in late January.
Meanwhile, defender Holger Badstuber is one step ahead of his teammate, returning to Bundesliga action in the 4-0 win against Stuttgart 200 days after suffering a muscle injury in April.
The 26-year-old came off the bench for Thomas Muller after 59 minutes, and was welcomed with a loud roar from the Allianz Arena crowd.
"It was an unbelievable reception. It was very emotional," said the Germany international, who has struggled with injuries since suffering an anterior cruciate ligament tear in December 2012. "It sent shivers down my spine."
Pep Guardiola was also impressed with the reception, telling reporters: "What our fans did for Holger was very emotional."
The Catalan coach went on to praise midfield youngster Joshua Kimmich, who won his fourth start at Bayern.
The 20-year-old left Stuttgart for Bayern this summer on a five-year deal following a loan spell at RB Leipzig.
When Guardiola told his news conference that the lack of playing time for Kimmich was "unfair," his Stuttgart counterpart Alexander Zorniger -- who coached the midfielder at Leipzig -- weighed in.
"We could give him some playing time," Zorniger suggested, to which Guardiola responded: "No, he'll stay here. Joshua Kimmich is nearly my son. He's incredible in every training [session], he was incredible against [Dinamo] Zagreb, and he was incredible today."