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‘Important match’

Klose and Lucio doubtful for Cottbus trip

Thursday was a good day for autograph hunters and diehard fans at the Säbener Strasse. Unusually for the day after a match, almost the entire squad was present for late morning training. The group comprising those who were in the previous evening’s matchday squad performed the customary light stretching and jogging, but the remaining players completed a programme of sprints, medicine ball lifting, a practice match and shooting at goal. Afterwards, Luca Toni and Co enthusiastically attended to their signing duties.

The busy scene at club headquarters also included a minor scare when Marcell Jansen went into a tackle, only to emit a loud cry and collapse to the turf clutching his left ankle. The left-back was able to continue after treatment and is not considered doubtful for Saturday’s trip to Cottbus, although he sat out the shooting practice part of the session.

Schweinsteiger and Zé Roberto return

By contrast, Miroslav Klose and Lucio currently look unlikely starters for the meeting with the relegation-threatened side from the Lausitz region. Klose is struggling to shake off a knock to the left ankle sustained against Anderlecht, while Lucio is nursing an Achilles problem. The pair both missed training on Thursday.

There was better news of Bastian Schweinsteiger (bruised thigh) and Zé Roberto (flu). The midfield pair have both been declared fit and played a full part in Thursday’s squad programme. Schweini and Ze could well be restored to the team in Cottbus. Luca Toni, who served a one-match ban against the Belgian champions, and Oliver Kahn (rested) will almost certainly join them, but Mark van Bommel is still suspended in the Bundesliga.

No experiments in Cottbus

“It’s back to the serious stuff against Cottbus,“ commented Ottmar Hitzfeld, after using the Anderlecht clash for a few try-outs and experiments. “We were basically already through after winning 5-0 at their place. It was a chance for some of our players who normally don’t start, and I learned a few useful things.“ However, the General is guaranteed to continue his rotation policy in Cottbus.