Ribery has Bayern in a spin but Klinsmann shrugs off doubts

January 10th, 2009 - 2:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Bayern MunichDubai, Jan 10 (DPA) France midfielder Franck Ribery took the wheel of the Bayern Munich team bus and knocked over two signs outside the players’ hotel in Dubai - but the incident hasn’t dented his standing with the German champions.”Franck wanted to have a bit of fun,” said coach Juergen Klinsmann, relieved that the prank only caused minor damage.

General manager Uli Hoeness was meanwhile left to smooth over the incident with an angry hotel management, while team-mate Tim Borowski admitted the players were slightly shaken by the unscheduled spin around the hotel Thursday.

According to Friday’s Bild newspaper, Ribery - who is known to be something of a prankster - mounted the kerb and knocked over two signs after taking the wheel of the bus for a lap around the hotel.

Klinsmann meanwhile also shrugged off fears that Ribery could be tempted to move before the end of his contract.

“Franck well knows what he has at Bayern,” he said.

It follows comments by Ribery Thursday who said he could not pledge to stay at Bayern until the end of his contract in 2011.

“I have a four-year contract. But promise that I will fulfil it? That is difficult. You never know what will happen in football,” Ribery said.

However Klinsmann said he had no worries about the mercurial midfielder who moved to Bayern from Olympique Marseille for 25 million euros ($34 million) in summer 2007.

“We have him at least until 2011,” Klinsmann said.

Hoeness has indicated he would like to seek early talks with Ribery on a contract extension.

Ribery, who has called recently for the club to strengthen its squad, said he felt “very happy” at Bayern but was “open for everything”.

Meanwhile US striker Landon Donovan will make his debut for Bayern in a friendly against Al Jazeera in Abu Dhabi.

Donovan, 26, who is on loan from LA Galaxy, will start the game, Klinsmann confirmed.

The coach said Donovan was now “automatically striker number three” behind Luca Toni and Miroslav Klose in the absence of the flu-stricken Lukas Podolski.

Hoeness, meanwhile, confirmed that Bayern were now nearer to completing a deal with Cologne who want to sign Podolski for next season.

“I think we will resolve this by the end of January,” he told Germany’s ZDF television.

Donovan now has the chance to stake his claim for a permanent signing. Bayern will welcome Hamburg striker Ivica Olic next season but Podolski now seems increasingly likely to return to his former club for a fee of around 10 million euros.

Klinsmann has been an admirer of Donovan’s form in Major League Soccer where he was top scorer last year. Bayern will decide in March on whether to extend his stay.

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