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Toni and Klose

Strike duo at work on prolific partnership

Luca Toni wore a black scarf at Tuesday’s scheduled news conference, but the Italian has not succumbed to the freezing early winter conditions in Munich. “I like snow a lot,“ the striker smiled, pointing out that the item around his neck was actually a fashion accessory.

After five months at Bayern, Toni is learning to live with the German winter. “It’s colder than in Italy, but you just have to get on with it,” the 30-year-old reasoned, “I’m happy here, I feel very settled in Munich, and so does my girlfriend.“

Keeping up with Klose

Toni certainly shows no sign of freezing in front of goal, with nine goals in the Bundesliga, two in the UEFA Cup, and two in the DFB Cup, totalling an impressive 13 in 17 appearances. His next opportunity to increase that tally comes this Thursday away to SC Braga.

The honour may also fall to Miroslav Klose, who boasts exactly the same hit rate of nine in the league and two apiece in the Cup competitions. Toni and the Germany international have been running neck-and-neck since the beginning of the season, both at club level and in terms of the national scoring charts. The pair do not regard each other as rivals, however. “I think it’s obvious we complement each other very well,” Toni offered.

Room for improvement

Klose similarly declared himself “delighted it’s worked out so well thus far,” although the 29-year-old feels the pair can still improve. “We have a few things to fine-tune,” he commented, specifically identifying the players’ movements relative to one another. “We get in each other’s way sometimes. The idea is to harmonise so well, opponents can’t work out a plan to mark us.“

“It’s not a perfect pairing yet,” Toni agreed. “You can always get better.“ That certainly applies to Toni’s efforts to learn German. “Piano, piano – it’s slowly getting better,” he insisted, although Klose feels the subject is secondary. “All that matters is that he performs. We can manage the communication,” he observed. In any case, Klose has spotted an improvement in his partner’s German: “He can say ‘Bye!’ and not just ‘Hallo’ now.“