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Bayern set to welcome back Schweinsteiger

German league leaders Bayern Munich expect to have vice-captain and Germany star Bastian Schweinsteiger back in their starting line-up when they host Nuremberg in the Bundesliga on Saturday

AFP, Saturday 29 Oct 2011
Bastian Schweinsteiger
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Schweinsteiger sat out Bayern's 6-0 demolition of second-division Ingolstadt 04 in the German Cup on Wednesday with a heavy cold as coach Jupp Heynckes blooded several promising youngsters.

The Germany star returned to training on Thursday and is set to be included by Heynckes as Bayern prepare to bounce back from last Sunday's shock 2-1 defeat at Hanover 96 in the Bavarian derby with mid-table Nuremberg.

Despite last weekend's defeat, Bayern still enjoy a three-point lead in the league table over defending German champions Borussia Dortmund, who are at VfB Stuttgart on Saturday.

Heynckes is likely to resort to his first team against Nuremberg at the Allianz Arena, but both Japanese teenager Takashi Usami and Austrian youngster David Alaba, both 19, scored against Ingolstadt and impressed.

"Takashi is a huge talent, an instinct footballer who has a special gift," said Heynckes.

"He plays just like [Franck] Ribery, [Arjen] Robben or Schweinsteiger."

Usami scored his first goal for Bayern's first-team against Ingolstadt having played just one German league game so far since his arrival from Gamba Osaka in July and it remains to be seen whether he will feature against Nuremberg.

Germany defender Jerome Boateng sits out the game for Bayern after receiving a two-match ban for the red card he got against Hanover.

Second-placed Dortmund can expect to have their first-choice midfield of Mario Goetze, Japan's Shinji Kagawa and rising Germany star Kevin Grosskreutz against Stuttgart.

Ilkay Guendogan, 21, who was brought into replace Nuri Sahin when he transferred to Real Madrid last summer, has lost his place in Dortmund's starting team to veteran Sebastian Kehl after a string of poor performances.

Dortmund host Greece's Olympiakos in the Champions League next Tuesday and Jurgen Klopp's team need a convincing win after two straight defeats in Europe.

Stuttgart are not an easy team to beat and have won five of their last six league games.

Having won their last two games, mid-table Hoffenheim are at Schalke 04 on Saturday and welcome back goalkeeper Tom Starke, who has recovered from concussion following a collision with captain Andreas Beck in training.

Schalke are third in the league and have Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar in superb form with five goals in his last five games.

Thorsten Fink, coach of second from bottom Hamburg, is hoping for his first win in charge against Kaiserslautern on Sunday.

Hamburg are set to be without striker Mladen Petric, who pulled up in training on Thursday with a calf injury.

"He pulled the muscle during a game of three-on-three in training and it will be close as to whether he plays on Sunday," said Fink.

In Friday's match, former Bayern Munich and Chelsea star Michael Ballack boosted Bayer Leverkusen's flagging campaign with the only goal in a 1-0 win at rock-bottom Freiburg.

Fixtures:

Saturday

Bayern Munich v Nuremberg, Schalke 04 v Hoffenheim, VfB Stuttgart v Borussia Dortmund, VfL Wolfsburg v Hertha Berlin, Borussia M'gladbach v Hanover 96, Mainz 05 v Werder Bremen

Sunday

Cologne v Augsburg, Hamburg v Kaiserslautern

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