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Internationals return

Leaders close to full strength for Wolfsburg clash

Ottmar Hitzfeld will have been keeping a watchful and tense eye on his mobile phone this Thursday morning: the Bayern coach has introduced a new rule requiring his internationals to contact him immediately if they have collected an injury while appearing for their countries.

“It’s not been the case up to now, so I’m assuming they’re all fit,“ Hitzfeld said before the afternoon training session. The club had ten men away on international duty this week, but the majority had in any case already returned to the Säbener Straße and took part in the workout. The only player still making his way back was Belgium’s Daniel van Buyten, involved in a convoluted return journey from faraway Azerbaijan.

Who will stand in for Lucio?

The refreshing news means Hitzfeld picks from close on a full squad for Saturday’s home Bundesliga meeting with Felix Magath’s VfL Wolfsburg. The only confirmed absentees are long-term casualty Marcell Jansen, the suspended Lucio and Bastian Schweinsteiger (knee).

Hitzfeld declined to reveal any details of his selection thoughts, although a key question will be the identity of the man asked to deputise at centre-half for Lucio. There could also be a return to the matchday squad for Willy Sagnol, after the France star came through two outings with the reserves unscathed.