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06 December 2023

Bayern suffer Van Buyten blow


There was more bad news for Bayern Munich on Saturday as it emerged defender Daniel van Buyten is out for up to eight weeks after injuring his foot during the 3-1 upset defeat at Borussia Moenchengladbach.

The Belgium centre-back broke the metatarsal bone in his foot during a collision with 'Gladbach goal-scorer Marco Reus and after an operation on Saturday, he is expected to be out for between six to eight weeks.

Friday's defeat at 'Gladbach blew the German league title race wide open as both defending champions Borussia Dortmund, who play Hamburg on Sunday, and Schalke 04, who host Stuttgart on Saturday, have the chance to close the three-point gap behind Bayern.

Bayern's stars were highly self-critical after the defeat, but they will finish the weekend top of the table regardless of other results as they have a superior goal difference, while 'Gladbach are second and just one point behind.

"We're not yet where we need to be," said Dutch winger Arjen Robben, with Bayern set to face Swiss side Basel in the Champions League's Round of 16 next month.

Munich welcomed back Germany star Bastian Schweinsteiger for the first time in 11 weeks since he broke his collarbone, but Bayern's vice-captain was far from impressed with his team's performance.

"We have seen that we must do something. We need to flick the switch quickly. We are simply committing too many faults in our game," said Schweinsteiger, who scored the consolation goal with 20 minutes left.

Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer made an uncharacteristic mistake to gift 'Gladbach the opening goal by Reus and the star shot-stopper had to shoulder some criticism.

"He tried to get the ball really fast back into the game, but he should have taken some of the pace out of their attack, that was his mistake," said Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes.

Neuer's mis-timed clearance was pounced on by Reus who fired home from 30 yards after 11 minutes.

"I wanted to hit the ball long down the right flank towards Arjen Robben and Thomas Muller, but I mistimed it and gave Reus an easy chance," admitted Neuer.

"Because of my bad pass, I have to take some blame for the defeat, that is obviously very disappointing."

After Reus had put 'Gladbach ahead, winger Patrick Herrmann was Borussia's match winner as he scored just before half-time and then added a second after the break to put 'Gladbach 3-0 up before Munich's consolation goal.

Heynckes refused to blame Neuer's early blunder for the defeat and said his team must raise their game for their next league match at home to Wolfsburg next Saturday.

"The sticking point for us was when we went 2-0 down just before the break," said Heynckes.

"I don't think my team understood how important it was to not give the ball away at that point."