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New start

Latecomer Schlaudraff makes his mark

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Misfortune and tribulation were the central themes of Jan Schlaudraff’s early months at Bayern. Surgery on a slipped disc last June put him out of action for several months, his physical move from Aachen to Munich was dogged by problems, and his emergence into the squad coincided with a collective loss of form at the club in the autumn. “The coach made fewer substitutions because the games were so close,” Schlaudraff reflects.

The 24-year-old has made just eight appearances so far, four apiece in the league and UEFA Cup, all of them in the second half. The striker has played four times for the third division reserves in a bid to retain match sharpness, where he scored the solitary competitive goal of his Bayern career to date. “It’s not been a satisfactory first half year here, largely because of injury,” Schlaudraff acknowledged after Wednesday training at the Säbener Strasse.

Encouragement from Hoeneß

The player recently sought out general manager Uli Hoeneß to gauge his future prospects at the club, reviewing the previous six months and analysing the situation. “What he said was that the injury made it impossible to make any kind of evaluation and I shouldn’t get worked up about it,” Schlaudraff revealed, a great deal more optimistic about the remainder of the season after speaking with the board director.

“It was vital for me to stay fit and play a full part in mid-season training,” he opined. The lithe utility man, blessed with exceptional dribbling skills, has completed practically all the winter training sessions, and lies level with Luca Toni on three goals in winter friendlies so far, including a brace in Tuesday evening’s 3-2 victory in Düsseldorf. “It’s always nice to score, but I’m even more pleased at the fact it’s gone very well overall,” he summarised.

Hoping for role as super sub

Given the intense competition for places in the forward line, Jan is realistic about his chances of a regular starting berth. “Given what they’ve achieved, Luca Toni and Miroslav Klose are first choice by rights. But I’m delighted I’m sitting right behind them, and I know I’ll get time on the field.“ For Schlaudraff, one thing is certain: “My spell here has really only just started.“