Bundesliga clubs count their wounded

BERLIN - Bundesliga clubs are counting their wounded following a spate of injuries before the new championship has even started.

Pre-season friendlies, last week's first round German Cup matches and the Copa America have all taken their toll, raising further questions about the over-crowded international calendar.

Around 50 players at the 18 Bundesliga clubs have been ruled out of the season's opening weekend which kicks off on Friday with champions Borussia Dortmund at home to Hamburg SV.

Dortmund were furious this week when exams showed that their Paraguay striker Lucas Barrios (pictured) would miss the first five to six weeks of the season after being injured in the Copa America final against Uruguay last month.

"The tear in the muscle is much greater than we were told," said coach Juergen Klopp, complaining that Paraguay had not told his club of the full extent of the injury

"It's a very unhappy story.

"It is very, very annoying and will cast a shadow over our relationship with the Paraguayan federation."

Peruvian pair Jefferson Farfan and Claudio Pizarro, who play for Schalke 04 and Werder Bremen respectively, are also sidelined after suffering injuries in the run-up to the Copa America which kept them out of the competition.

Before the current setback, German clubs had been angry about players getting injured while on international duty, the most famous case being Arjen Robben who aggravated a thigh muscle injury playing for the Netherlands during the World Cup last year.


Robben's club Bayern Munich angrily criticised the Dutch federation while their CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, who is president of the European Clubs Association (ECA), is pressing FIFA to provide a compensation for such cases.

The clubs are hardly blameless themselves. Bastian Schweinsteiger turned out for his last three Bundesliga matches for Bayern last season with a broken toe, then promptly pulled out of two Germany matches.

Bayern, who finished a disappointing third last season after injuries to forwards Robben and Franck Ribery, may again have to do without the pair to start off with.

Robben suffered an ankle injury during pre-season friendly against AC Milan while French striker Ribery will miss Sunday's game at home to Borussia Moenchengladbach with an ankle injury sustained in training.

Other prominent injuries include Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Rene Adler who had to undergo a knee operation after he was injured in a pre-season match against Salzburg on July 3.

VfB Stuttgart, who narrowly avoided relegation last season, will be without central defender Georg Niedermeier who has to rest an injured thigh for at least six weeks.

Bruno Labbadia's side, at home to Schalke 04 on Saturday, also have Matthieu Delpierre out for several months with a hip injury.