Bundesliga: Stuttgart injury woe for opener

August 10, 2007

BERLIN, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Brief news from the Bundesliga before this weekend's matches.

•  Champions VfB Stuttgart and runners-up Schalke 04 will be missing key players for their season-opening match in Stuttgart on Friday that will be broadcast live in 94 countries around the world.

Stuttgart will be without Germany striker Mario Gomez, named Germany's footballer of the year 2006-07 this week by the country's sportswriters, due to a strained thigh muscle and new playmaker Yildiray Bastuerk who has muscle problems.

Stuttgart's preparations have also been hampered by the late returns of Mexico internationals Pavel Pardo and Ricardo Osorio as well as newcomers Ewerthon and Ciprian Marica.

Schalke, who led the table much of the second half of the season before stumbling, will be without Turkey striker Halil Altintop and Denmark's Soren Larsen through injury.

•  Bayern Munich's new striker Luca Toni returned to training before their opening match against Hansa Rostock on Saturday after being sidelined for two weeks with a knee injury.

But it is still uncertain whether he will play after missing much of the pre-season. Bayern will also be without Germany striker Lukas Podolski, who only recently resumed light training three months after knee surgery.

•  Eintracht Frankfurt will miss Japan striker Naohiro Takahara for their home match against Hertha Berlin due to a knee injury. They will also be without Brazil's Chris and newcomer Aaron Galindo.

Berlin, who sold several key players in the close season, will be without suspended Croatia defender Josip Simunic and the injured Jerome Boateng.

Berlin's new coach Lucien Favre, however, will have Brazil midfielder Gilberto back after recovering from a leg injury.

•  Bayer Leverkusen will be without Sergej Barbarez and Paul Freier against Energie Cottbus while midfielder Carsten Ramelow and defender Lukas Sinkiewicz are doubtful.