Created on 21-01-2008 at 00:00 AM
Ottmar Hitzfeld had warned his players to expect “intensive” training on Monday, saying he would “not take too much account” of Tuesday’s friendly away to Fortuna Düsseldorf. The coach was as good as his word. In their first workout on Bavarian soil since returning from Marbella, the stars pulled weights, repeatedly threw and caught medicine balls, and sprinted hard up a nearby incline. The sound of the players gasping for breath was audible from some distance, although on closer inspection, it became clear the squad was far from complete.
Long-term casualty Marcell Jansen (rehab after ankle surgery) was an expected absentee, but Franck Ribéry, Miroslav Klose, Lukas Podolski and Michael Rensing also missed the double training session on Monday. The quartet all reported minor injuries, and none is likely to feature in the trip to Düsseldorf. “In all probability, they won’t play“, confirmed assistant boss Michael Henke, “although we’ll have to wait and see. Obviously, we don’t want to take any risks.“
Ribéry has already ruled himself out of the warm-up clash at the LTU Arena, although the France superstar said he expected to resume training on Wednesday. Both Ribéry and Miroslav Klose are suffering from stiff hamstrings, but it was back pain which prompted Podolski and Rensing to sit out Monday’s programme. On a more positive note, Willy Sagnol (knee) and Jan Schlaudraff (strain) have shaken off minor knocks and trained as normal on Monday, with Klose recovering sufficiently to take part in the afternoon session.
Jansen continues to work his way back to fitness. The left-sided player, who required surgery to repair ankle ligament damage last December, reported to fitness coach Thomas Wilhelmi for a workout which involved plenty of passing, crossing and shooting. Jansen is hoping to resume the squad programme in late January or early February.
Penultimate test on Tuesday
The fit members of the squad will fly to Düsseldorf for Tuesday’s penultimate warm-up match before the competitive action resumes in just over a week. Hitzfeld offered his men no respite from the rigours of mid-season training ahead of the game, but the men in red will nevertheless take the meeting with the third division outfit seriously. “Even though it’s mid-season, we at Bayern can never allow any opponents simply to turn up and win,“ Henke declared. In any case, the players know it is one of the last opportunities to put themselves forward for starting places in the team.