Robben out of Klassiker with knee trouble

By Sports Desk November 09, 2018

Arjen Robben has been ruled out of Bayern Munich's clash with Borussia Dortmund on Saturday due to knee problems.

The experienced winger did not travel with the rest of the squad on Friday ahead of the Klassiker showdown with the Bundesliga leaders at Signal Iduna Park.

Earlier, head coach Niko Kovac had sounded somewhat optimistic over Robben's fitness ahead of their final training session in Munich.

"Arjen tried to train yesterday but has a couple of knee problems so we'll have to see how he trains today," he told a news conference on Friday.

Robben joins Thiago Alcantara, Kingsley Coman and Corentin Tolisso on Bayern's injury list.

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    Marco Reus and Toni Kroos will sit out Germany's friendly match with Russia on Thursday, head coach Joachim Low has confirmed.

    Borussia Dortmund forward Reus has a bruised foot and is due to take part in light training with a view to being available for the Nations League meeting with Netherlands on Monday.

    Kroos, who is yet to link up with the squad, will be given extra time to rest.

    "Marco Reus can't train at the moment and unfortunately he is not available for the game against Russia," Low told a news conference.

    "He is scheduled to do light running training on Thursday, but we have to look at it from day to day.

    "Toni gets a few days off."

    Low expects a difficult match against World Cup quarter-finalists Russia, as Germany look to restore some order following a run of just two wins in their last seven outings.

    Relegation from League A of the Nations League a real possibility, but Low is not too anxious ahead of his side's final two games of 2018.

    "We're in a phase of upheaval. France was an important indicator for the next few months. The result tomorrow [Thursday] is not so crucial," he said.

    "Russia are back to the level they had in 2008. They're a very disciplined side, very aggressive in defence and dangerous on the counter. The coach's influence on the team is clear to see.

    "We've made the mistake of regarding the Nations League too highly. A relegation wouldn't be the end of the world, either.

    "If we go down, we have to accept it and then the focus is on qualification [for Euro 2020]."

  • Van Dijk happy to recommend De Ligt if Liverpool ask Van Dijk happy to recommend De Ligt if Liverpool ask

    Virgil van Dijk would give his Netherlands defensive partner Matthijs de Ligt a glowing reference should Liverpool want to add him to Jurgen Klopp's squad.

    De Ligt's reputation has gone from strength to strength since making his Ajax debut in 2016 and establishing himself at the heart of the club's defence.

    A first international call-up followed last year and this season De Ligt has been linked with a string of Europe's top clubs – with Barcelona said to be at the front of the queue.

    Paris-Saint Germain, Inter and Liverpool have also been named as potential destinations for the 19-year-old, who is contracted with Ajax until 2021.

    Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman expects the teenager to leave the Eredivisie in the near future but Van Dijk has yet to be asked about his international team-mate by Liverpool's hierarchy.

    "He will be on the [Liverpool] lists because they have enough scouts at the club," he told De Telegraaf.

    "No [they haven't mentioned De Ligt], but if they need my opinion, I'll give it.

    "He is already very far, especially for his age. [He is] a good defender, good boy, calm, knows what he wants and hopefully he makes the right choice."

    But Van Dijk does not expect De Ligt to take his record as the world's most-expensive defender, Liverpool having paid £75million for the 27-year-old in January.

    "They will pay less for Matthijs," he added. "The amount for me was very high.

    "It's just like that and if he ever becomes the most expensive defender, I'll be the first to congratulate him."

  • Messi is a football alien - Malcom Messi is a football alien - Malcom

    Malcom has described team-mate Lionel Messi as "a football alien" and pledged to take full advantage of the opportunity to play alongside the talismanic superstar at Barcelona.

    The Brazilian was included alongside Messi in Barcelona's starting line-up for the first time in Sunday's clash with Real Betis at Camp Nou, though the duo could not prevent the hosts slipping to a 4-3 defeat.

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    "A few minutes before starting the match, in the tunnel, he told me that when he gets the ball he will find me," Malcom said in an interview with ESPN Brasil. "And he does because he's a football alien.

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    "Simply by exchanging passes with him, I am learning so much.

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    The 21-year-old admitted that he was looking forward to a move to Roma when Barcelona came in for him, but said he had no regrets about heading to Spain.

    "I was going to Roma and I was very happy," he said.

    "Then the opportunity to sign for Barcelona arrived and I did not think twice because it had been my dream since I was a kid.

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