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Bayern blow as Ribery ruled out for four weeks

Franck Ribery will be out of action for four weeks after damaging ankle ligaments against Hoffenheim, though Bayern Munich coach Louis van Gaal admitted he was relieved at the news having feared the France winger faced longer on the sidelines.

Ribery was injured while setting up Bayern's equaliser in the 2-1 victory, but after an initial fear that the problem may have required surgery, team doctor Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt reported that no surgery will be needed, news that comforted Van Gaal.

"I had expected a worse injury," Van Gaal said after the game. "We hope he will recover quickly."

Ribery, 27, is certain to miss Bayern's Bundesliga clashes with Mainz, Dortmund and Hannover, as well as Champions League matches against CFR Cluj and FC Basel, though he may be fit to return against Hamburg on October 22.

After an injury-plagued 2009-10 campaign, Bayern sporting director Christian Nerlinger admitted he hoped Ribery would have more luck this time round.

And despite the latest setback, Nerlinger backed the talismanic Frenchman to return sooner than expected.

"He does not need surgery," Nerlinger said. "That is quite lucky in the circumstances. I believe that he can be back in training with the team within three weeks.

"We all hoped things would go smoothly for him after he started the season without injury problems. He had been training outstandingly and gave his all. This is another setback, but it is a small one from which he will recover very quickly."

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