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Eager for goals

Toni’s dream start in Germany

Let’s be honest, no-one really knew how strong Luca Toni would be when he joined Bayern for the new season. Certainly the Italian hit man had been a World Cup winner in 2006 and had claimed the Golden Boot as Europe’s most successful goalscorer, but how much of his sharpness would he still have in 2007, especially after a metatarsal operation in May.

After two rounds of the Bundesliga there’s no doubt about it – Luca Toni is as dangerous as ever. With two goals already, and two more made for team-mates, the 30-year-old is currently the league’s top scorer, even after missing several weeks of pre-season training with a knee injury. “I’m still not completely fit, but when you’re scoring goals it helps your morale,” he said on Friday on the eve of his third Bundesliga outing.

Still without Klose

The Italian hitman obviously hopes that his dream start will continue against Hannover, but it’s more important, he says, that Bayern win: “Whether or not I get on the scoresheet comes second.” Toni will probably play as a sole spearhead in the Allianz Arena on Saturday, for his partner Miroslav Klose, with whom he has struck up a good understanding and who himself has two goals and an assist to his credit, will be missing. “It’s a shame Miro is injured,” Toni says, “but our squad is strong enough to compensate for his absence.”

Whether that’s true also depends on Toni’s own performance. “I’m tired,” he confessed in German the day after his return from international duty with Italy, “a little bit tired,” he added in Italian. But he insists he has the determination to overcome that as well as the absence of Klose.

Surprised by the fans

His determination is reflected in the success of his start to the season. Both on the field and off he seems to have settled in well straightaway in Munich – with help from the enthusiasm of the supporters. “The fans have really taken me by surprise,” he says of the applause that greeted both Bayern and Werder Bremen from the terraces at the conclusion of Bayern’s 4-0 victory in the Weserstadion last weekend. “We could do with a bit of that in Italy.”

It’s not only the interest from the media that has made Toni realise how much attention is being paid at home in Italy to his progress in Munich. “Friends and colleagues from the national side want to know as well how I’m getting on and what it’s like here,” he says. So far he has nothing but good to relate about his adventure in Germany. “All I’m missing is my family.”

Toni v. Fahrenhorst

Toni is reluctant, however, to draw comparisons between the Bundesliga and Serie A – it’s much too early after just two games, he says. On Saturday against Hannover he will get new insight as he takes on Frank Fahrenhorst, who before the match has had a good luck symbol tattooed on his chest. That makes little impression on Toni. “I don’t know him,” he says. “I hope he hasn’t had his skin pierced for nothing.”