Bayern welcome back Bastian Schweinsteiger as Arsenal await
Berlin: Bayern Munich hope Germany midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger will start against Freiburg in the Bundesliga on Saturday as the holders warm-up for next week`s Champions League clash at Arsenal.
The 29-year-old made his comeback after three months out with an ankle injury, playing the last 25 minutes of Wednesday`s 5-0 romp at Hamburg in the German Cup quarter-finals.
Schweinsteiger is set to feature at Munich`s Allianz Arena as the European champions prepare to face the Gunners away in Wednesday`s last 16, first leg, of the Champions League.
Coach Pep Guardiola welcomed back his midfield general: "It`s super, super, super news, he has huge experience, but he still needs time."
Such is Bayern`s strength in depth that they have continued to pick up wins even without the likes of Schweinsteiger and injured France winger Franck Ribery, who is out until March after an operation on his buttocks.
Bayern have won all of their last nine matches, are unbeaten in a record 45 league matches and are 13 points clear in the table.
Freiburg coach Christian Streich has suggested some unusual tactics against the league leaders -- to make sure Bayern enjoy themselves.
"Bayern should have fun and they only have that when they play against a good opponent," said the eccentric Streich, with his side 15th in the league, just above the relegation places.
Third-placed Borussia Dortmund are chasing a second win this week over Eintracht Frankfurt at home.
Gabon international winger Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang headed home Dortmund`s second-half winner at Frankfurt in Tuesday`s 1-0 cup quarter-final victory.
Frankfurt climbed up to 12th in the table with a 3-0 win at home to bottom side Eintracht Braunschweig last Saturday as they bounced back from their 5-0 drubbing at Bayern the week before.
Dortmund are hoping to have Germany midfielders Marco Reus and Sven Bender back after the pair both suffered thigh injuries in last Saturday`s 5-1 win over Werder Bremen.
"We`ll have to see, we don`t want to take a risk with either of them," said coach Jurgen Klopp with both expected to train on Friday.
There is still no news on when Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan will return to training after suffering from a virus.
Bert van Marwijk is in a precarious position as he takes 17th-placed Hamburg to bottom side Eintracht Frankfurt with huge doubts over his future after a club record of six league defeats.
Ex-Bayern, Schalke and Wolfsburg coach Felix Magath has already been widely tipped to replace former Holland coach Van Marwijk, who only took charge in September.
Director of sport Oliver Kreuzer said he only has a job guarantee until Saturday, but another defeat could well be the Dutchman`s last.
Saturday`s top clash sees second-side Bayer Leverkusen, who suffered a shock 1-0 cup defeat at home to second-division Kaiserslautern on Wednesday, host fourth-placed Schalke.
Schalke were buoyed on Thursday when captain and centre-back Benedikt Hoewedes made a surprise return to training sooner than expected after recovering from a leg injury.
"The healing process has gone very, very well, but he still has a few problems and is still questionable," said Schalke coach Jens Keller.
Keller said right back Atsuto Uchida has flown back to Japan and could face an operation for a leg injury, while midfielders Julian Draxler and Roman Neustaedter are both in the squad for Leverkusen.
Matches (1430 GMT unless stated)
Mainz 05 v Hanover 96 (1930)
Borussia Dortmund v Eintracht Frankfurt, Bayern Munich v Freiburg, Werder Bremen v Bor. Moenchengladbach, Hoffenheim v VfB Stuttgart, Eintracht Braunschweig v Hamburg, Bayer Leverkusen v Schalke 04 (1730)
Augsburg v Nuremberg, Hertha Berlin v VfL Wolfsburg