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Training like Milan

Van Buyten back, new dad Ribéry in France

Willy Sagnol parked up at the Säbener Strasse as normal on Thursday afternoon, only to do a double take and stop in his tracks at the sight of a pole with an aerial attached stuck in the ground at the side of the training pitch. The aerial was cabled to a laptop standing on a nearby table. Filled with curiosity, Sagnol approached Zvonko Komes, who was working away at the portable computer, seeking an explanation from the fitness coach. A short time afterwards, Komes repeated his words for

“We’re continuing to optimise and individualise our training methods,” explained the Croat, new to Ottmar Hitzfeld’s coaching team at the start of the season. Komes has taken regular readings of the stars’ physical performance over recent months, aiming to match the training load with each player’s individual requirements, and was busy testing a new and expanded system on Thursday.

Van Buyten fit again

Each player’s pulse, read by a sensor on a body-mounted belt, is transmitted via the aerial to the laptop, where special software generates a graphical display of the results. The coaching staff can monitor the times when a player’s pulse deviates from the optimum. “It means we can react immediately, even during the session. It’s a huge benefit,” continued Komes, who first used the system during his time at AC Milan.

Thursday was the new technology’s debut at the Säbener Strasse - and Daniel van Buyten also completed his first squad workout of the new year. The Belgian has been laid low with a dose of flu since returning from the festive break, “but I’m feeling much better now,” he later informed, “I’m well on my way back.“

Ribéry a father for the second time

Four players were unable to take part in Thursday’s sessions: Oliver Kahn (bruised thigh), Zé Roberto (stretched ligaments), Lukas Podolski (flu) and Franck Ribéry. Kahn managed a short jog around the training ground, and Podolski and Zé Roberto reported for treatment, but Ribéry was not even in the country after leaving Munich on Wednesday for the suburbs of Paris, where his wife gave birth to the couple’s second child three weeks early.

Mother and child are both reported to be doing fine, and Ribéry himself has also shaken off a cold. The midfielder is due back in Munich on Saturday, ready to board the plane to the Marbella training camp on Sunday. The player is currently working out with fitness coach Thomas Wilhelmi in France.

Jansen ready to roll

There was also positive news of Marcell Jansen, recovering on schedule from ankle surgery in November. The left-sided utility man hopes to return to the practice ground this week, he revealed to, before gradually increasing the rehab training load in Marbella. “It’s looking good,” opined Jansen, hopeful of resuming the full squad programme during the mid-season break.