Bastian Schweinsteiger nearing return
Bayern Munich midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger could return to the squad for Wednesday’s DFB-Pokal quarterfinal clash at struggling Hamburg.
Schweinsteiger, 29, has not played a competitive match for Bayern since November and could be in line for his first appearance in 2014 at the Imtech Arena.
The Germany international was working on his comeback at the club’s training facilities in Saebener Strasse on Monday, with Holger Badstuber, Diego Contento and Pierre-Emile Hjoberg also working on their fitness.
According to Bild, however, Bayern coach Pep Guardiola may choose to rest Schweinsteiger on Wednesday to protect him from what is likely to be a volatile atmosphere inside Hamburg’s stadium.
Die Rothosen are enduring a turbulent season, sitting in the Bundesliga relegation zone, while coach Bert van Marwijk is facing intense speculation about his future.
Bayern president Uli Hoeness, though, has warned the Bavarians that the game will be far more of a challenge for them than everyone is predicting.
“That will be far more difficult than everybody thinks. Hamburg want to clear their name against us. It’s all or nothing for them,” he told Bild.
Hamburg have lost six consecutive Bundesliga games and have recorded three straight 3-0 defeats in Germany’s top flight.
“This is the only game they have nothing to lose in. They will not rest,” Hoeness said.
The Bayern game could prove to be the last for Van Marwijk, with the Hamburg directors wanting to install Felix Magath as caretaker boss until the end of the season, before giving him a leading role on the club’s board.
The directors have so far been unable to find the two-thirds majority needed to sack Van Marwijk and force the current board members to make way for Magath, who has reportedly said he will only join if he can take over before the relegation battle at Eintracht Braunschweig on Saturday.
On Monday, in what might have been Van Marwijk’s last prematch news conference, the former Netherlands boss refused to answer any questions and only read out a statement.
“What happened here in the last few days, I’ve never experienced something like that,” Van Marwijk said. “I have the feeling the club are in an auto-destruct mode. That is such a shame for such a great club, but we -- the coach, board and team -- will stick together.
“We speak with one voice. This is the only way to get out of it. I can guarantee you that we will fight until the end to not get relegated. I still have 100 percent trust that this will happen. We will stick together. I think that is the most important thing. You can rely on that.”