Premier League

Owen back in full training

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Mon, 26 Nov 2012 10:39:00

A look ahead to the midweek action in the German Bundesliga, with Freiburg up against Bayern Munich.

The final whistle on the 13th round of Bundesliga matches may have just sounded, yet the clubs are already preparing for the next matchday this midweek with much movement likely behind the top five.

Freiburg moved up to sixth in the table with a 3-0 win over Stuttgart and they host leaders Bayern Munich on Wednesday, aware that they must keep up their present form or risk dropping as many as six places.

"This just shows how the Bundesliga is," said Stuttgart coach Bruno Labbadia after his side's defeat in the Black Forest prevented them from moving into sixth spot, and left them instead in 12th.

"You just can't lower your guard for a second, and Freiburg took full advantage."

Only six points separate Freiburg in sixth from Nurnberg in 15th as nine clubs continue to jostle for position, and to know whether they could be challenging for places in Europe this season or fighting a long, hard battle against relegation.

The latter is looking increasingly the case for Hoffenheim after their defeat at home to Bayer Leverkusen and their coach Markus Babbel's job is on the line when they travel to Nurnberg in the last midweek fixture to kick off this Wednesday.

"I know how the business works," the former Stuttgart and Hertha Berlin coach said.

Behind Hoffenheim, Greuther Furth and Augsburg both have tricky away games as they search for only their second wins of the season.

Furth head to Hannover on Tuesday while Augsburg, who were only five minutes away from beating Borussia Monchengladbach, make the short trip to Stuttgart on Wednesday.

At the top of the table, Borussia Dortmund host Fortuna Dusseldorf, Schalke travel to Hamburg and Eintracht Frankfurt are involved in a local derby with Mainz, all on Tuesday night.

Elsewhere, Borussia Monchengladbach host Wolfsburg and Werder Bremen tackle Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday night.

Having only managed a total of 53 minutes in four substitute appearances for Stoke so far since his signing as a free agent back in September, Owen insists he has recovered from a hamstring injury.

He said: "I'm back in full training. The physios and the medical team were up at the stadium for Saturday's match. So I trained there.

"They made me run up every stairway at the ground. It was a hard old session."

Stoke boss Tony Pulis says Owen has an outside chance of being fit to face his former club Newcastle on Wednesday but he is more likely to return against West Brom on Saturday.

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