Created on 13-02-2008 at 00:00 AM
The Bayern squad’s journey to Aberdeen passed off uneventfully from a scheduling point of view: Lufthansa flight LH 5019 left Munich punctually at 11.10 and landed in the east of Scotland at 1.40 pm, allowing the squad to check in at the team hotel some 50 minutes later. But after that, the trip departed from the planned itinerary, as Michael Rensing and Bernd Dreher led the touring party off the bus and scurried into the hotel. Number one goalkeeper Oliver Kahn failed to follow his fellow shot-stoppers.
With Franck Ribéry, Willy Sagnol, Mark van Bommel and Daniel van Buyten already out, Kahn became the fifth high-profile player to withdraw from the squad for Thursday’s UEFA Cup trip to Aberdeen. The 38-year-old fell victim to a flu-related high fever on the flight from Germany and was sent back to Munich on the same plane by chief medical officer Dr. Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt. “Olli was in good form. We’ll miss him,” commented Ottmar Hitzfeld. Added Bastian Schweinsteiger: “We’re without one of Bayern’s defining players.“
Rensing or Dreher
However, the Bayern camp remains confident due to the proven calibre of Kahn’s understudies. “Michael Rensing is a great keeper, so we can easily cope with the situation,” Hitzfeld declared, although Kahn’s deputy is himself far from a certain starter. On Tuesday, the 23-year-old suffered a reaction to an earlier back problem which prevented him appearing in the first two competitive matches since the winter break.
“I’m assuming Michael will be fit to play,” Hitzfeld remarked, although should Rensing fail a fitness test in Wednesday evening’s final pre-match workout, veteran Bernd Dreher would be in line for the first European appearance of his long professional career. The 41-year-old, who has been at the club since 1996, is officially the number three keeper in the senior squad, but also belongs to Sepp Maier’s goalkeeping coaching staff and plays for Bayern’s All Star veterans. “He takes part in all the first team sessions. We have complete faith in him,” commented Schweinsteiger.
Kraft called in
Dreher has made 13 Bundesliga and two League Cup appearances for the men in red. His most recent competitive outing came nine months ago on 19 May 2007 in a 5-2 victory over FSV Mainz, when he became the oldest player ever to represent the club in a senior fixture. He also kept goal for a half in Bayern’s mid-season friendly in Düsseldorf a few weeks ago.
However, Dreher has never appeared in a European club fixture, despite collecting a UEFA Cup winners’ medal in 1987-8 with Bayer Leverkusen. Should Dreher finally break his duck, reserve keeper Thomas Kraft would start the Aberdeen clash on the bench after flying in on Wednesday evening via London. Kahn is expected to return for Sunday’s Bundesliga trip to Hannover 96.