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Toni returns

Hitzfeld calls for points on the board

The Säbener Straße is always a busy place during the Bavarian school holidays, but Thursday’s fan turn-out may have reached record proportions as an estimated 5,000 passionate supporters pressed up against the security fences for a glimpse of the goings-on at the training ground.

Two days ahead of Bayern’s opening Bundesliga fixture at home to Hansa Rostock, it is hard to imagine the level of euphoria and enthusiasm surrounding the club climbing any higher. Even head coach Ottmar Hitzfeld shook off his normally sober demeanour with an impassioned plea to his men ahead of the match against the promoted side in front of a capacity Allianz Arena crowd. “Life gets serious from now on. It’s time to start putting points on the board,” the General told the daily news conference.

Toni battling for fitness

Bayern are determined to set out their stall right from the start, and may be able to call on Luca Toni’s assistance after the World Cup winner continued to come through training unscathed following a knee injury. However, Hitzfeld could not confirm whether the Italian might feature in the matchday squad. “You’d normally need three to four weeks of the squad training programme to achieve match fitness,” the coach pointed out.

Miroslav Klose is hoping to hook up with his designated strike partner as soon as possible. “It’s time for Luca to recover fitness,“ the former Bremen hitman declared after spending much of the pre-season period as a lone striker supported by a five-man midfield.

Short casualty list

Apart from long-term absentees Valérien Ismael, Lukas Podolski, Jan Schlaudraff and Willy Sagnol, Bayern are likely to be at full strength for Saturday’s opener. Hamit Altintop (knee) and Jose Sosa (ankle) have both shaken off knocks and are expected to feature on Saturday. “They should be OK,” Hitzfeld reported.