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'I’m fit again now'

Klose confesses hunger for goals and medals

Just as Ottmar Hitzfeld promised before the squad scattered for the holiday break, Bayern have spent the first two days of mid-season training practising a high-tempo offensive game with passes on the ground to the front men. Ahead of the gruelling fitness routines which will feature at the club’s Marbella training camp, attack is set to form the focus of the first intensive week of training, much to Miroslav Klose’s liking.

“We lost the dominance we had at the start of term,“ the Germany striker freely admitted on Tuesday, well aware that the men in red scored just four goals in their last seven Bundesliga fixtures before Christmas. “We were too predictable, which is something we have to change as fast as possible.“

Rewind to start

Franck Ribéry, Luca Toni & Co banged in the goals at will in the late summer and early autumn as Munich raced to a goal difference of +22 (25 scored, 3 conceded) to set a new league record after nine matches. Klose urged a return to those halcyon days, “because we need to enjoy our football the way we did at the start. We all know what we were doing at the beginning of the season, and we should all do it again.“

That naturally applies to Klose himself. “Everyone knows I’m a perfectionist,“ the 29-year-old commented, unhappy with his own performance in the late autumn, “when my form mirrored that of the team.” Klose has 15 scorer points (9 goals, 6 assists) from 15 league appearances, but eight of his goals came in the first seven games.

Fit and firing on all cylinders

“I could have a goal or two more, and I could have played better a couple of times,“ he admitted, although he is still level at the top of the scoring charts with team-mate Luca Toni, Rafael van der Vaart (Hamburg) and Diego (Bremen). Klose has now fully shaken off the injuries which partly led to his loss of sharpness. “I’m fit again now, and I’m sure we’ll recapture our early-season form.“

The break had been good for the team, he felt. “We’ve all recovered well,“ he confirmed, looking forward to pursuing honours at both club and international level in 2008. Nevertheless, the man capped 72 times by his country is not yet contemplating next summer’s Euro 2008 in Switzerland and Austria: “I’m mentally focused on Bayern right now.”

Hungry for success

That’s just as well, with Bayern chasing silverware in the Bundesliga, the UEFA Cup and the DFB German Cup. Klose will feel he is in with a very good chance of collecting the first winners’ medal of his career at some point in the spring. “I’ll take whatever’s on offer, preferably all three,“ the 29-year-old quipped, confident of breaking his trophy duck fairly soon: “I’m on a four-year contract, and I think I’ll pick up a medal here and there in that time.“