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‘Active regeneration’

Readying for run-in with fun in the sun

The obvious but erroneous conclusion from observing team training at the Säbener Strasse on Monday would have been that the Bayern stars were busily preparing for a couple of weeks on the beach. Instead of skills development or a practice match, Franck Ribéry and Co alternated between football tennis and basketball – visibly and audibly enjoying themselves in the process.

“We’ve pretty much played twice a week since the winter break, so a day like this does you good,” commented Philipp Lahm after the relatively gentle workout. The Germany international and his team-mates started the session in the weights room before moving out onto the sun-drenched practice ground.

Special regeneration programme

“It’s fun and I’m happy to be doing it,” said Ribéry, lingering on the field for another round of football tennis with Daniel van Buyten after the rest of the squad had retired to the dressing room. And who won the Franco-Belgian duel? “Me of course, as usual,” the France star grinned, looking forward to his ‘prize’, a lunch paid for by Van Buyten.

The Bayern camp is certainly in upbeat spirits despite a distinctly average display in Nürnberg on Saturday. Results elsewhere meant the Reds maintained a seven-point advantage at the top of the standings, and with five matches at home and only three away until the end of term, appear well placed for a 21st domestic crown. That persuaded Ottmar Hitzfeld to start the week with “active regeneration“, as assistant coach Michael Henke told “It was a special programme today.“

Ribéry wary of Getafe

Normal service will be resumed on Tuesday. “As of tomorrow, we’ll turn up the heat and start gearing the lads up for Thursday,” Henke explained. Spanish La Liga cracks Getafe visit the Allianz Arena in the UEFA Cup quarter-finals this week.

Ribery warned his team-mates not to underestimate Thursday’s opponents: “They must be good, or they wouldn’t still be in the competition.“ The 24-year-old revealed he had consulted Barcelona pair Lilian Thuram and Thierry Henry for advice regarding Getafe when the players met up on France duty last week, a conversation which is certain to have thrown up one or two interesting insights.

Podolski doubtful

“They told me Getafe are technically good and hard to play against, so it’s important we win at home, preferably without conceding a goal,” observed Ribéry, promising fireworks for the crowd: “We’ll go after them and get on the attack.“

Lukas Podolski, scorer of the 81st-minute equaliser in the 1-1 draw against Nürnberg, was unable to train on Monday with a swollen ankle and reported to the medical unit for treatment. “He’s doubtful. We’ll have to wait and see if he’s fit to train tomorrow, or at least take part in final training on Wednesday,” Henke explained.

Patience a virtue for Sagnol

Martin Demichelis missed the trip to Nürnberg with facial bruising, but trained on Monday despite still sporting a black eye. “He managed the whole session so it shouldn’t be a problem for him,” Henke remarked.

By contrast, Willy Sagnol will be sidelined for a few more days with the after-effects of a slipped disc. The Frenchman received a pain-killing injection from club medical chief Dr Müller-Wohlfahrt and is currently restricted to jogging. Sagnol is hoping to resume the team programme next week, and put in an extra afternoon shift on Monday.