Created on 29-02-2008 at 00:00 AM
When Schalke 04 host Bayern on Saturday, a Mrs Altintop of Gelsenkirchen will suffer a severe case of divided loyalties. Son Halil plays for the home Royal Blues, but twin brother Hamit appears for the visiting Reds. Fortunately, the proud mum has found a neat solution to the emotional dilemma
“Our mum always tells us we should draw 1-1 – with a goal from my brother Halil and one from me,” Hamit revealed on Friday. However the man who swapped Gelsenkirchen for Munich last summer will not be satisfied with a brotherly share of the spoils on his return to the Veltins Arena. “I have other ideas. I want to score and finish on the winning side.“
Hamit the regular
Hamit has now been at Bayern for some eight months after arriving on a free transfer, although the lack of a fee is no reflection of his increasing value to the Munich club. The Turkey international has only failed to appear in three of his new club’s 33 competitive matches this term, and that was due to injury. “I’ve been rewarded for my courage in choosing a move to Munich,” the 25-year-old commented.
Hamit will again feature on Saturday, Ottmar Hitzfeld has already confirmed. “Hamit has played very well since the winter break,” the Bayern coach remarked, aware that professionals often step up a gear or two against former clubs. “It’s definitely a bit special for me,” Altintop confessed, although he immediately played down the emotional significance of the match: “At the end of the day, it’s simply about taking all three points.“
Never mind the jeers
The player is prepared for a hostile reaction from the massed Schalke fans at his former stamping ground. “It’s all part of the game. I’m old enough to cope, it’ll go in one ear and out of the other.“ He has closed the chapter of his career labelled Schalke. “I identify 100 percent with Bayern now,” Hamit insisted.
Nevertheless, he is more aware than anyone of the challenge facing his new club on Saturday. “The boss never had to say a lot before a visit from Bayern, all the players were totally fired up in any case, and some of them will definitely rise above themselves.“ Since the state-of-the-art Arena opened in 2001, the Reds have taken just two points from six league visits, with a Cup semi-final defeat to boot.
However, the former Schalke star rejected the idea of a jinx affecting Bayern when they visit the Ruhr Valley. “I’m looking forward to the match – and the three points,” he declared confidently, naming two decisive factors in the visitors’ favour: “It’s Oliver Kahn’s last match there, and my first one with Bayern.“ Even Mrs Altintop might understand if her Bavarian-based boy came out on top just this once.