Created on 04-01-2008 at 00:00 AM
Hamit Altintop and his twin brother Halil share an almost identical career path as footballers. They played together as youths for Schwarz-Weiß Gelsenkirchen-Süd and TuS Rotthausen, before turning professional in 2003 with SG Wattenscheid 09. Hamit went on to join Schalke 04, while Halil – the younger of the pair by ten minutes – initially played for 1. FC Kaiserslautern before rejoining his twin at Schalke in 2006.
The Altintop boys went their separate ways again last summer when Hamit switched to Bayern, but their personal relationship has remained as close as ever. The pair phone each other on a regular basis, before the holiday season provided an opportunity for a decent spell of face-to-face contact. “We gathered as a family in Gelsenkirchen, and then I flew to Istanbul with my brother for some rest and relaxation. We had plenty to talk about, the way you can’t on the phone,“ Hamit revealed to fcbayern.de at the Säbener Strasse on Friday.
From free transfer to regular
Hamit will have had plenty to relate after an incident-packed first six months in Munich. Arriving from Schalke on a free transfer, few observers expected him to feature regularly in the Bayern starting line-up. “But I reckon he could prove the surprise package,” Uli Hoeneß predicted in pre-season. The general manager’s words now have the ring of prophecy.
Until he was obliged to undergo knee surgery in December, Altintop was the only player to appear in every competitive match (including the pre-season League Cup), running up three goals in the Bundesliga and one in the UEFA Cup. The Gelsenkirchen-born star made the berth on the right of midfield his own during that period.
Staying fit on vacation
“It’s been a decent first half year, but I want more,“ the 25-year-old declared. “In fact, what I want more than anything else is to win something.” The league title, UEFA Cup and German Cup are all still possibilities for Bayern this term, while Hamit is also set to feature for Turkey at next summer’s Euro 2008.
The player has made sure to keep fit across the festive period, ready for next Monday when Ottmar Hitzfeld gathers his troops to begin preparations for an assault on a triple dose of silverware. “I’m nice and relaxed, but I started putting in some work a few days ago, because I want to hit the ground running when training restarts,“ Hamit explained.
Ready for squad sessions
The midfielder reported to rehab coach Thomas Wilhelmi on Friday for a fitness test on the surgically treated right knee. “It’s looking good and I’m feeling no pain,“ he commented, “I managed all the exercises today without any trouble. The way things stand, I’ll be able to train with the team on Monday.“ Good news for everyone, twin brother Halil included.