Robben ready for trip to Royal Blues

Robben and new Swiss signing Shaqiri battle it out in training. Photo FC Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich's Arjen Robben is in bullish mood ahead of his side's trip to Gelsenkirchen tomorrow to face Schalke 04 as the Reds look to continue their perfect start to the new season. "We're going to Schalke aiming to win" said the Dutchman who was forced to watch Bayern's previous league victory against 1.FSV Mainz 05 from the sidelines.

Fellow winger Franck Ribery also sat out the 3-1 win over Mainz but returned to the side midweek in the 2-1 Champion's League victory over Valencia. The Frenchman hopes to be involved in the side despite being substituted at the break with a hamstring problem.

Daniel Van Buyten also faces a fitness test after illness kept him from participating in training on Thursday.

Mario Gomez's continued struggle with injury will be of less concern to Bayern following Mario Mandzukic's fantastic start to life with the Bavarians, the former VfL Wolfsburg striker having scored three in three in the league for the Reds already.

But captain Phillip Lahm isn't expecting an easy game against the Royal Blues: "the teams are evenly matched," he warned, "Schalke are title contenders."

Robben also stressed the quality of the opposition, particularly national team compatriot Klaas-Jan Huntelaar who finished top of the scoring charts in the Bundesliga last season with 29 goals in 34 appearances and has already scored two in two this campaign. "We mustn't allow him any chances" said the winger.

However there is doubt over the Dutch striker's participation in the game as he looks to recover from a bout of the flu and a hip injury that force him to sit out training on Thursday following Schalke's impressive 2-1 away victory over Olympiakos in mid-week.

"He is a big question mark" said coach Huub Stevens.

Also in doubt is Jermaine Jones, another player who sat out training with a knee injury. Stevens may be forced to change a line-up that have won their last three games in all competitions including a 2-0 defeat of Greuther Fürth last week in a game that contained a belter of a goal from distance by the promising midfielder Julian Draxler, a player Bayern will be sure to keep a close eye on should he start.

The match will be an emotional fixture for former fan-favourite Manuel Neuer as he returns to a club he was with from childhood before moving to Bayern in a 22 million euro move. His inclusion looks set to contribute to already heated relations between Bayern and Schalke fans and will likely ensure an electric atmosphere at the Veltins Arena.

Both sides enter the fixture in top form. Fans will be hoping for a repeat of classic fixtures in the past, Bayern having won three of the last five including a 4-1 thumping at the Allianz Arena in April of last year.

Prediction: Schalke 0 FC Bayern 1


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