Bayern Munich wasted a golden opportunity on Saturday to pull within a point of second place in the Bundesliga, conceding a late goal in its 1-1 draw against Wolfsburg.
Ribery's match was cut short after just 25 minutes
Munich had lost just one of its last 11 matches, moving up the standings into fifth place, just three points behind second-placed Mainz, which lost 1-0 on Saturday to Stuttgart.
But the Bavarians couldn't capitalize against Wolfsburg, which gave up top striker Edin Dzeko in a deal with Manchester City, leaving them without their accustomed firepower.
Bayern opened the scoring when Wolfsburg keeper Diego Benaglio tried to clear a loose ball - but ended up seeing it ricochet off of Thomas Mueller into the wolves' goal. Munich's 'keeper Thomas Kraft, making his Bundesliga debut, showed he could cope with pressure by making a reflex save against Brazilian striker Grafite just before half-time.
Wolfsburg saved a point when defender Sascha Riether notched the tying goal with less than five minutes to go.
"We're all very disappointed," said Bayern coach Louis van Gaal. "It should have been 3-0 at halftime for us, but instead we made mistakes. You can't win if you make mistakes like that."
Dortmund far ahead of the field
The result leaves Bayern 16 points adrift of first-placed Dortmund, which once again underscored its dominance following the winter break with a scorching 3-1 victory over Leverkusen on Friday.
And if that isn't bad enough for a Bavarian team ordinarily pampered with success, Saturday's match saw them lose star winger Franck Ribery, who limped off in the 25th minute with a knee injury. He was replaced by Dutch star Arjen Robben, who made his season debut in his first match since the World Cup final in South Africa.
In other Bundesliga games, St. Pauli drew 2-2 against Freiburg, Bremen beat Hoffenheim 2-1, Mönchengladbach tipped Nuremberg 1-0 and Hamburg downed Schalke 1-0.
Author: Gregg Benzow (dpa, AP,AFP)
Editor: Kyle James