By TRAVIS CLARK
The countdown to the World Cup is being whittled smaller with each passing day, but there's still one more champion to crown on European soil.
Bayern Munich is set to take on Inter Milan in the UEFA Champions League final in Madrid on Saturday, but will have to triumph without French star Franck Ribery, who lost his final appeal on Monday in an attempt to overturn his three-match ban.
Ribery was sent off in the first leg of the Champions League semifinal for a tackle on Lyon's Lisandro Lopez, and the final will be the second match of his suspension.
Here are a few other stories for Monday:
Domenech trims French roster
French coach Raymond Domenech recently made six cuts to his 30-man roster as national team camp is set to begin on Tuesday. Hatem Ben Arfa and youngster Yann M'Villa were amongst those who didn't receive invitations, meaning their World Cup aspirations are all but dead — unless one of the 23 incumbents suffer an injury. The only other debate remains on the fitness of Arsenal defender William Gallas, who has played only once since February. Bordeaux's Marc Planus remains with the team depending on Gallas' fitness.
Blanc to replace Domenech
As if French soccer didn't need any more distractions, the heir apparent to Raymond Domenech's managerial job — who will leave his post after the World Cup — is close to being named, even before the tournament begins. Bordeaux coach Laurent Blanc is set to replace Domenech, as Blanc recently informed his players at Bordeaux that he is going to resign from his post to accept the FFF's offer and take over Les Bleus.
Australian star winning fitness race
Oft-injured Socceroo winger Harry Kewell is on course to be fit for the World Cup. The former Liverpool player, currently plying his trade for Galatasaray in Turkey, was named by Pim Verbeek in Australia's 30-man squad despite the fact he's been struggling with a groin injury. It's very likely that this could be Kewell's last World Cup, as he turns 32 later this year.
How will Ribery's absence play a role in Saturday's final? Is the Blanc-for-Domenech swap something that should be done before the World Cup? Will Kewell be fit for South Africa?