Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich look set to welcome back midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger for Friday's match against Borussia Moenchengladbach as the Bundesliga resumes after the winter break.
Germany star Schweinsteiger has been out since breaking his collarbone in the UEFA Champions League win over Napoli at the start of November, but despite sitting out training on Tuesday with a knee injury he is hopeful of playing.
Bayern have a three-point lead at the top of the table, but suffered consecutive defeats in the wake of Schweinsteiger's injury last November and the midfielder is eager to recapture the form he showed before injury struck. "It looks good for Gladbach. I have no worries, but of course I want to get back to top form quickly," said the 27-year-old as Gladbach sit fourth in the league.
"I practised (on Wednesday). It was quite good. I'm not worried, but I want to be in my best shape when I start the match. I hope the knee will be getting better and better before Friday. I'm very excited. It's important for us to get a win and have a good start.
"On the pitch you can react and change something, in the stands you can't. We want to get back to the form we had before my injury and dominated the opposition. It's up to us whether we are under pressure or not. We have high expectations and it's important that we work as a team."
Schweinsteiger will be up against Gladbach's key midfielder Marco Reus, who is set to play for defending champions Borussia Dortmund next season, and is one of the best midfielders in Germany this season with ten goals in 15 league games.
Having only avoided the drop after winning last season's relegation play-off, Gladbach have been a surprise package this term and Schweinsteiger insists Bayern will not take Lucien Favre's team lightly. "It will not be an easy game. They have some high quality players, not just Reus," said Schweinsteiger.
"There's (Venezuela midfielder) [Juan] Arango and (Germany striker) [Mike] Hanke for instance, but it's clear the we have a lot more quality in the squad. We have a lot of options, so the opponent doesn't know what will come. If we show our quality on the pitch, then we will win."
Bayern have a score to settle against Favre's Gladbach, who stunned the Bavarian giants in Munich with a 1-0 win at the Allianz Arena on the opening weekend of the season in August.
Both second-placed Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04, who are third, are just three points behind Bayern, but a vastly superior goal difference mean Bayern will finish the weekend on top regardless of results.
Dortmund have a tough game at resurgent Hamburg, who have climbed up to midtable and are unbeaten since ex-Bayern midfielder Thorsten Fink took over in October. Meanwhile, Schalke 04, third in the table, are at home to VfB Stuttgart, who will be without ex-Germany striker Christian Gentner, out with a leg injury.