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Poldi in squad

Line-up options back on the increase

Three days ahead of the Bundesliga trip to face Hamburger SV, Bayern’s selection options slowly but surely began to expand on Thursday as Franck Ribéry (calf), Miroslav Klose (knee), Marcell Jansen (ankle), Hamit Altintop (flu) and José Ernesto Sosa (back) all resumed the squad training programme.

“We’re getting some of our players back at last. We’ll have to see how many we have available for Sunday,” defender Philipp Lahm observed. The coaching staff will be watching the five fit-again stars for any sign of a reaction to their previous problems, but it is clear coach Ottmar Hitzfeld will finally select from a range of alternatives after a lean period during which, by his own admission, the team had more or less picked itself.

Question-mark over Toni

The biggest remaining question-mark ahead of the meeting with the side lying fifth concerns Luca Toni. The striker, who pulled a hamstring in last Saturday’s 3-0 victory over Hannover, performed a tailored exercise programme by himself on Thursday.

On the plus side, Germany goal-getter Lukas Podolski is set for a place in the squad for the first time since knee surgery last April. “I’m delighted. It’s been a long time,” declared the 22-year-old after a creditable 90 minutes in Tuesday’s friendly away to Grashoppers Zurich.

Poldi targets sub’s role

“Playing again was just tremendous, and the knee’s giving me no trouble,” Poldi continued. The hitman has recently picked up match practice in the reserves and is hoping for a top flight comeback in the northern port city: “Maybe the boss will give me 10, 20 or 30 minutes.“

The former Köln starlet understands he is some way off challenging for a regular berth at the present time. “I don’t think I’ll play much in the next few weeks, I need to recover my rhythm first,“ Podolski explained, highlighting the current fitness deficit between himself and his team-mates: “I’m definitely some way behind, especially in terms of stamina.”