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Zé Roberto sidelined

Hitzfeld opts to rest Kahn and Jansen

Ottmar Hitzfeld is set to continue his policy of extensive squad rotation in Thursday’s UEFA Cup Round of 16 first leg away to RSC Anderlecht, leaving captain Oliver Kahn and Germany international defender Marcell Jansen out of the squad to face the Belgian champions.

Zé Roberto is also absent after coming down with a stomach infection overnight. The Brazilian has not travelled for the meeting at the Constant Vanden Stock stadium, joining fellow countryman Lucio (muscular problems) on the injury roster. Jan Schlaudraff is the man omitted from the 18-strong matchday squad.

Rensing fired up

Regular keeper Kahn, offered a break for “mental refreshment” by Hitzfeld after the punishing schedule of recent weeks, will be replaced in Belgium by his designated successor Michael Rensing. “I’m feeling good, and I’m delighted at the chance of another appearance,“ the former Germany U-21 keeper said.

Hitzfeld took Rensing aside at the start of the week to inform him he would be playing in Anderlecht. “That was a good idea, because it gave me the chance to prepare mentally,“ commented Rensing, who stood in for Kahn away to Aberdeen in the previous round of the UEFA Cup.

Karlsruhe just 43 hours later

“Michael has deputised well for Kahn often enough, so we’re not in the least worried,“ advised Mark van Bommel. “It’s not much of a change when Micha goes in goal,“ explained Philipp Lahm. Cover for Rensing in Brussels will be provided by reserve goalkeeper Thomas Kraft.

Hitzfeld, who made six changes to the starting line-up for last weekend’s1-0 victory away to Schalke, appears certain to reshuffle his side significantly again on Thursday, especially with Bayern’s home Bundesliga meeting against Karlsruher SC coming up on Saturday afternoon.