- Associated Press - Friday, December 4, 2015

MUNICH (AP) - Franck Ribery has been included in the Bayern Munich squad travelling to Moenchengladbach for a Bundesliga match on Saturday.

Ribery has not played since March because of an ankle injury, and the winger returned to training only this week.

Coach Pep Guardiola praised Ribery’s effort in training: “He will come back this year. For sure.”

His return is timely as Douglas Costa, more than an adequate replacement in his absence, is one of three key players who will miss the next few matches because of injuries.

Costa has a thigh strain, winger Arjen Robben a calf injury, and midfielder David Alaba’s left ankle injury is proving more serious than originally believed. He is not expected to play again before the Christmas break.

“I hope he’ll be able to train with us at the start of the new year,” Guardiola said on Friday.

Guardiola said it was “possible” Costa could be fit in time for the last match of the year at Hannover, but added that he would be taking no risks.

“What matters is that they’re all 100 percent fit after the winter break,” Guardiola said.

He gave no date for the return of Robben.

“He’s told us he is not fit,” the coach said.

Juan Bernat, Thiago Alcantara, and Mario Goetze are also on the long-term injury list, with the first two possibly returning to training next week.

Bayern has 13 wins and one draw in its first 14 Bundesliga matches, and will be seeking to end Moenchengladbach’s nine-match unbeaten run under new coach Andre Schubert.

Next week, Bayern plays Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League having already qualified for the knockout stage.

It also plays Darmstadt in the German Cup, and has remaining matches against Ingolstadt and Hannover in the Bundesliga.

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