Created on 08-07-2007 at 00:00 AM
Ottmar Hitzfeld was of course only speaking the truth when he said last Friday’s meeting with FT Gern was “no benchmark” for his star-studded team. Against the local lads, who ply their trade some eight or so levels down the German footballing hierarchy, the Reds were four up after just 14 minutes, and finally won 18-0. “You simply have to use your ability against opponents of this calibre,” Hitzfeld noted, but even in the less than normal circumstances, Franck Ribéry caught the eye with a level of skill and turn of pace not seen at Bayern for quite some time.
Ribéry spun on a sixpence in the manner of Zinedine Zidane, dribbled at a pace most would struggle to sprint, and demonstrated a keen nose for goal with a well-taken brace. “I really enjoyed playing with my new team-mates,” the 24-year-old declared the following day. “I’m really fired up about playing in this team and using my strengths. But what matters to me is continuing to get better.“
Leading by example
Ribery’s determination to improve all the time has been evident in every training session so far. The man who has earned nicknames including “Ferraribéry“ or “Dribléry“ at various points in his colourful career to date believes in setting an example, using every spare moment of his brief time in Munich to train. “I’ve hardly had any time to take a look at the city,” he revealed.
Home, for the time being, means Bayern Munich Football Club. “I’m feeling very good, and I’ve been warmly welcomed, despite not yet speaking the language. We’re really like a family here,” he reported. Away from training, his main preoccupation has been finding accommodation for himself and his family. He has yet to sample Munich’s famous beer and sausages, although as a Moslem, he declines to drink alcohol in any case. “But I’m still looking forward to joining the team at the Oktoberfest,” he grinned.
Aiming for trophies
The player has named late September or early October as the deadline for Bayern to begin imposing their superiority on the Bundesliga. “Our aim is to win trophies – the league, the Cup and the UEFA Cup,” he proclaimed, but not without a word of warning: “Our opponents will be incredibly motivated when they play us, precisely because of the fabulous players the club has signed.” One of them unquestionably being Ribéry himself.