FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — No sooner did Franck Ribery become available to Bayern Munich, than Arjen Robben was lost for up to six weeks with a right knee injury.
Ribery, who broke a rib on France duty in mid-November, made his comeback on Wednesday in a German Cup win. But in the same match, Robben hurt his knee in a tackle and was taken off on a stretcher.
Bayern travels to Werder Bremen with a four-point lead in the Bundesliga over Bayer Leverkusen, which is away to Borussia Dortmund. Dortmund, three points behind Leverkusen, needs to win to preserve any chance of challenging Bayern for the title. Here are 5 things to know about the weekend matches in the Bundesliga:
STRIKER SUMMIT: Leverkusen's trip to Dortmund brings together the Bundesliga's two top strikers. Dortmund's Robert Lewandowski tops the league with 11 goals, and Leverkusen's Stefan Kiessling has nine. Both also assist — Lewandowski has set up five goals, and Kiessling four.
Dortmund has to rely on its attack, since many defenders are out injured. Both teams were busy in midweek and both advanced to the quarterfinals of the German Cup. Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp was particularly pleased that "we advanced without suffering another injury."
Leverkusen has won against Dortmund only once in the last 12 games, but its last victory was in Dortmund — 2-0 in August 2010.
FAMILIAR FACES: Borussia Dortmund's newly signed defender, Manuel Friedrich, will meet some familiar faces when Bayer Leverkusen visits. Friedrich spent six years in Leverkusen before being left without a contract after the last season.
Friedrich kept fit on his own and was signed by Dortmund when the team's entire back four went out injured. The 34-year-old former Germany defender was suddenly playing for a top club again after spending half a year practically in retirement. "I notice with each practice and every game that the routine is coming back," Friedrich told Kicker magazine this week.
Apart from being on the same team with Kiessling for years, Friedrich played on the same defense with Sami Hyypia, who is Leverkusen's coach. Friedrich says the only thing that could surprise him from Kiessling is "a new haircut." ''Of course I know all of his strengths and weaknesses. He does everything to win and we must do the same," Friedrich said.