Schweinsteiger out, but life goes on for Bayern
German league leaders Bayern Munich take on strugglers Augsburg on Sunday as the Bavarian giants get used to playing for the rest of 2011 without star midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger.
The 27-year-old broke his collarbone on Wednesday in the 3-2 win over Napoli which put Bayern on the verge of the Champions League knock-out stages and the Germany star is expected to miss the next six weeks, ruling him out until 2012.
Schweinsteiger has been in superb form for both club and country and his long passes from midfield have been part of the reason striker Mario Gomez has already scored 19 goals in 17 games this season for the Bavarians.
"Of course, it is very bad for the players, but also for the club," said Bayern president Uli Hoeness.
"A player like Bastian Schweinsteiger can not easily be substituted, he is far too valuable, but we are only talking about the six weeks between now and Christmas.
"His lost must be absorbed by the rest of the squad and I must honestly say, I can't understand the outcry going through Germany.
"He'll be playing again after Christmas."
Certainly, Bayern's loss will help their rivals as the title contenders look to attack Munich's four-point lead at the top of the table, especially with fellow play-maker Arjen Robben recovering from a groin operation.
Ukrainian midfielder Anatoliy Tymoshchuk is likely to take Schweinsteiger's place and Bayern will also be without defender Jerome Boateng, who is serving his three-match suspension after being sent off at Hanover.
Augsburg are second from bottom and are chasing only their second league victory of the season.
Second-placed Schalke 04 are at mid-table Hanover 96 having won all of their last four games and have Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar in fine form with 21 goals in 18 games so far this season.
That tally includes 10 goals in 11 games in the Bundesliga and he is just two behind Bayern's Gomez who has scored 12 league goals in 10 games for Munich.
In Saturday's matches, Borussia Dortmund hammered VfL Wolfsburg 5-1 as Werder Bremen defeated Cologne 3-2 at home, while Freiburg and Borussia M'gladbach posted away wins, defeating Nuremberg and Hertha Berlin respectively, with the same 2-1 score. Two matches ended in a draw, Hoffenheim vs Kaiserslautern 1-1 and, Bayer Leverkusen vs Hamburg 2-2.
Hanover 96 vs Schalke 04, Augsburg v Bayern Munich
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