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Big chance for Donovan?
by Mike Woitalla, February 20th, 2009 7AM



[AMERICANS ABROAD] With both its regular forwards injured, Landon Donovan could get his first start for Bayern Munich when it faces Cologne on Saturday (GolTV 11:30 am ET). Earlier this week, Bayern chairman Karlheinz Rummenigge downplayed the American's chances of staying past the loan deal, but the injuries and a crowded schedule should give Donovan a chance to make his case.

Leading scorer Luca Toni, whom Donovan replaced in the 35th minute of last weekend's loss to Hertha Berlin, has an Achilles' tendon injury. Miroslav Klose bruised his leg in practice this week. If either can't play, Coach Juergen Klinsmann will choose between Donovan and Lukas Podolski, who has returned from an injury and illness absence.

Klinsmann indicated before the winter break ended that Donovan moved ahead of Podolski in the depth chart, but Donovan has been scoreless off the bench in three Bundesliga games and one German Cup game. Adding intrigue is the fact that Podolski next season will be joining Cologne, where he started his career before moving to Bayern.

Klinsmann describe both Klose and Toni's injuries as minor. But however the lineup unfolds for Saturday's game, Donovan will likely have ample playing opportunities before his loan deal ends March 8, before which Bayern has three Bundesliga games, a German Cup game, and a Champions League match with Sporting Lisbon.

Although Donovan has indicated he wants to stay in Germany, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported that Bayern would not be buying him from the Los Angeles Galaxy, which also faces losing its other star, David Beckham, to AC Milan.

"We have him on loan until March 8," said Rummenigge, "and with the certainly high transfer fee that one imagines for Landon in America, we will not acquire him."

Sueddeutsche speculated MLS would ask $10 million for Donovan.

When MLS Commissioner Don Garber was asked last year what price tag the league would put on Donovan, Garber said, "[It's] hard to put a figure on it, but we had a had 20-year-old, Jozy Altidore, who has only played in a handful of games for the national team who we sold for $10 million [to Villarreal]. It's hard to imagine that perhaps our most valuable player isn't worth at least that much, if not much more."


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