Created on 23-08-2007 at 00:00 AM
Two days ahead of the home Bundesliga clash with Hannover 96, Bayern coach Ottmar Hitzfeld had good and bad news to report. On the plus side, all five of the first-team squad who saw action with their national teams in midweek have returned to the club fully fit. "They're all in contention for Saturday," the General reported, before moving swiftly on to the less positive tidings. "We can't afford any more injuries. The team basically picks itself right now."
The boss's main headache remains the forward line. Miroslav Klose (ligament) and Jan Schlaudraff (back surgery) are definitely sidelined, while Lukas Podolski is still not match fit. "I'm considering leaving him out altogether on Saturday. If I include him, it'll be as a substitute,“ Hitzfeld announced. Luca Toni is still the only fully fit striker in the squad, after coming through a half for Italy against Hungary in midweek unscathed.
One or two men up front?
"The question is whether to play with two strikers, or pick just one forward with three attacking midfielders behind him," Hitzfeld declared on Thursday, offering a glimpse of his tactical thinking ahead of the third league fixture of the season. The only potential candidate as a second striker was young reserve Sandro Wagner, the coach confirmed.
Another member of the third division reserve squad might also be added to the matchday squad. "We'll probably only have four subs, or five if I nominate a reserve," Hitzfeld explained.
Schweini, Van Buyten and Lucio return
On Thursday, the midweek internationals - Lahm, Toni, Ribéry and Altintop – confined themselves to regeneration exercises. Stephan Fürstner, who appeared for the Germany U-21s on Tuesday, took part in the full squad session alongside Bastian Schweinsteiger, Daniel van Buyten and Lucio.
Podolski lapped the training ground under the supervision of fitness coach Thomas Wilhelmi. The striker, who only resumed the squad programme last Tuesday, would probably be perfectly happy with a brief appearance as a sub against Hannover, as that would be his first competitive outing since April. Whatever happens on Saturday, he will appear for the reserves again on Sunday. "We're considering sending all the players who don't cover the distance on Saturday to the second team. They need match practice," Hitzfeld commented.