Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes said today that he hopes to have Dutch winger Arjen Robben back in the team soon, with key UEFA Champions League matches looming.
Bayern are top of the Bundesliga after four games and meet Freiburg on Saturday, then travel to Spain to face Villarreal next Wednesday in the first round of Champions League group stage matches before hosting Manchester City on 27 September.
Robben has been complaining of back and groin injuries, but as Bayern's chief playmaker, Heynckes is keen to have him back on the pitch soon. "He's better. He had almost no complaints," said Heynckes "It is important that he gets well again, especially with important games coming up in the Champions League."
Robben has played two of the four league games this season and scored in the 5-0 rout of Hamburg on 20 August. Since then he has missed the Netherlands' 11-0 hammering of San Marino in Eindhoven last Friday, as well as Bayern's 3-0 win over Kaiserslautern in the German league.
Despite his fragile health, Robben has scored some crucial goals for Bayern since joining from Real Madrid in August 2009. He is under contract until June 2013 and Bayern president Uli Hoeness said he expects the Netherlands star will sign a contract extension soon.
"He knows that with the help of the medical department he can play 80 or 90 per cent of our games," said Hoeness. "I am sure we will be able to renew the contract."
Robben has been working closely with Bayern team doctor Hans-Wilhelm Mueller-Wohlfahrt, a sports injury specialist. Both Germany striker Mario Gomez and defender Daniel Van Buyten are expected to face Freiburg on Saturday.
Gomez sat out Germany's 6-2 win over Austria last Friday, which sealed their place at UEFA EURO 2012 next year, and today's friendly against Poland to recover from a thigh injury. Van Buyten is expected to be fit after a hamstring problem.