BERLIN, Sept 11 (Reuters) - A goalkeeping crisis at Bundesliga leaders Schalke 04 means teenager Ralf Faehrmann will be handed a daunting debut in front of 80,000 hostile fans at local rivals Borussia Dortmund on Saturday.
Schalke's first choice keeper Manuel Neuer has yet to play this season because of a broken foot and stand-in Mathias Schober joined him on the casualty list when he suffered a calf strain this week.
Schober is definitely out and although Neuer is due to return to training on Thursday he has ruled out a return to the starting line-up on Saturday.
"It's not going to happen," Neuer told reporters on Wednesday. "I'm taking it as read that I won't be able to play."
He added: "I have absolutely no worries about Faehrmann playing."
Coach Fred Rutten also said he had full confidence in the 19-year-old Faehrmann, who last weekend played for Schalke's second team in front of 900 people.
Schalke lead the standings with seven points from the first three games of the season and with third-placed Dortmund trailing them only on goal difference Saturday's game will have more than just local pride at stake.
The good news for Schalke is that Jefferson Farfan, the Peruvian international signed from PSV Eindhoven ahead of the new season, is ready to make his debut after recovering from a shoulder injury.
Away from the Ruhr Valley, it will be interesting to see if Bayern Munich are now back on track after a 4-1 victory over Hertha Berlin brought them their first win under Juergen Klinsmann.
Bayern face an away trip to Cologne on Saturday and Klinsmann's big hope will be to see Lukas Podolski translate his good form for Germany to the domestic stage in this game against his former club.
Franck Ribery has ruled out making his comeback from an ankle injury against Cologne, although the French playmaker hopes to be in the squad for next week's Champions League clash with Steaua Bucharest.
Werder Bremen, who like Bayern have made a quiet start to the season, should have Torsten Frings in midfield, with or without a face mask, after a broken nose kept him out of Germany's two World Cup qualifiers.
In another enticing game on Saturday Hamburg SV, in second spot on seven points, host Bayer Leverkusen, who are a point behind them in fourth.