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Coach praises dependable stand-in Van Buyten

Daniel van Buyten belongs in the category labelled ‘model professional’. A regular last term, the Belgian had only made four appearances in all competitions this season before Saturday’s Wolfsburg fixture, as Martin Demichelis and Lucio are currently above him in the defensive pecking order at the club.

Instead of reacting angrily in the press or demanding a move away from Munich, Van Buyten has been patience personified. “I’m happy here and proud to be at Bayern,” he intones. The 29-year-old has worked hard in training and waited for his chance, now presented to him by Lucio’s red card in Stuttgart and subsequent suspension.

Praise from coach

“I’m delighted Daniel had a good game. I threw him in at the deep end, and he showed strong nerves,” coach Ottmar Hitzfeld declared on Sunday morning. The 1.96m / 6 ft 5 in Van Buyten showed he can be relied upon to perform when the occasion demands.

“We put in some good work. It’s a shame we conceded a goal, but all in all we’re satisfied and the win was what mattered in any case,” Daniel commented afterwards, declining to say much about his own performance, but certainly coming across as a lot more buoyant than in recent weeks as he took reporters’ questions. “It’s always been a special privilege for me when I’m selected to play.“

Couple of war wounds

The Belgian acknowledged he had been under pressure to do well. “You’re certainly a little more nervous after not appearing for several weeks and knowing you need to have a good game. You need time to recover your rhythm,” he admitted before kick-off. But his confidence returned with each tackle won and successful header away from the danger zone, and the defender began to add his towering presence to the Bayern attack in front of the Wolfsburg goal at set plays.

Daniel came away from one such situation with the beginnings of a black eye. “There were plenty of challenges, and I don’t know when it happened. It might have been after a corner, but I don’t remember now,” he smiled. Hitzfeld also reported that the player had picked up a painful bruised toe, but Van Buyten laughed off the injury: “You just feel good in the knowledge you’ve been able to do something for the team.”

Lucio eligible against Braga

Even if the Belgian shakes off the wounds, he may once again find himself on the bench for Thursday’s UEFA Cup tie in Braga, as Lucio’s four-game ban only applies to the Bundesliga. However, Martin Demichelis is rated doubtful for the game with a bruised shin. “I don’t yet know whether I’m playing on Thursday,” Van Buyten confirmed, before pledging in the same breath: “But I’ll always do my best when called upon.“