Berlin - Franck Ribery's return to the Bayern Munich squad is drawing closer, thanks to some space-age help with the injured French winger working out on a running machine developed by NASA.
Ribery has been out for the last seven months since limping out of a Champions League match in March, but the injury to his right ankle is proving to be persistent.
The Bayern star is using a special anti-gravity running machine, the type developed by NASA to train astronauts, which supports 20 percent of his body weight, according to broadcaster Sport1.
The 32-year-old has missed the last 28 matches for the Bavarian giants, who have won all eight of their league games so far this season, including a 5-1 rout of second-placed Borussia Dortmund on Sunday and are four points clear in the table.
Bayern coach Pep Guardiola has also been without Netherlands captain Arjen Robben, who has a groin injury, and the Spaniard is hoping to have his veteran wingers back training before their next league game at Werder Bremen on October 17.
"With regards to Arjen, I hope he can rejoin (training) after the international break. With regards to Franck, I hope he'll also be back soon," said Guardiola.
In Ribery and Robben's absence, Brazil winger Douglas Costa and France Under-21 international Kingsley Coman are shoo-ins on the flanks for Bayern.