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Bayern Munich welcome back key quartet to training

1:27 am AEDT 4/2/19
arjen robben - cropped
Four of Bayern Munich's key first-team players were back in training on Sunday after injury absences.

Bayern Munich manager Niko Kovac will be buoyed by the return of four senior players to training on Sunday.

Manuel Neuer, Thiago Alcantara, Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben all missed Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to Bayer Leverkusen, but could return to the squad soon.

Neuer had played ever league game all season for the German champions before being forced to sit out Sunday’s game due to a hand injury.

Midfielder Thiago also missed the trip to the BayArena due to what head coach Niko Kovac described as "neuromuscular problems”.

Veteran wingers Robben and Ribery, meanwhile, have been struggling with respective thigh injuries and have not played since the turn of the year.

The former has not started a Bundesliga game since a 1-1 draw with Freiburg in early November and has been elected from the off just seven times all season in the league.

Ribery, on the other hand, has missed the last three games.

Both wingers look set to leave Bayern this summer with their contracts due to expire. Between them, Robben and Ribery have played a combined 714 matches for the Bundesliga side.

The pair could add to that tally between now and the end of the season, before their seemingly inevitable transfers.

Without the quarter of injured players, Bayern lost further ground on league leaders Borussia Dortmund, who they now trail by seven points. The five-time European champions loss against Leverkusen has seen them dropped to second place in the table behind Borussia Monchengladbach.

It was an extremely disappointing afternoon for Bayern, who led 1-0 at half-time, only to concede three second-half goals courtesy of Leon Baily, Kevin Volland and Lucas Ariano. The result also put to an end their seven-game unbeaten run in the division.

However, Bayern will look to bounce back form that disappointment when they play Hertha Berlin in the last 16 of the DFB-Pokal Cup on Wednesday.

It is a busy month for Kovac’s men, who face tough league matches against Schalke, Augsburg, Hertha and Monchengladbach.

Bayern also return to European action later in February when they play Liverpool in the first-leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.