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Back with a bang

Welcome return for Miro’s trademark flip

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It has been a rarity of late, but Miroslav Klose drew gasps and applause with his trademark mid-air forward somersault in celebration of the goal which finally killed off VfL Wolfsburg in the Cup last Wednesday. The 29-year-old had actually decided to abandon the acrobatic celebration, because his two small sons had attempted to copy their dad at home, “and we suffered a few bruises,” the striker revealed to last autumn. So why did the Germany international temporarily put aside his reservations in midweek?

“He only does it after really vital goals,” Ottmar Hitzfeld reported. Klose’s strike came just as the player was going through a rough patch. “I’ve had a very average phase,” he himself agreed on Wednesday.

Mentally free

Since the midpoint of the season, Klose has netted twice against Wuppertal in the Cup and twice in the UEFA Cup, but only once in the Bundesliga. “It was weighing heavily on him,” pondered Hitzfeld, “so I’m delighted Miro’s finally scored again. He was looking fragile for a long time, he was thinking too hard. Hopefully that will free him mentally today.“

The initial omens were not good against Wolfsburg, as the striker passed up four chances in the first hour, either shooting wide or being denied by the excellent Diego Benaglio in the VfL goal. But Klose’s confidence soared after a superb lay-off for Franck Ribéry’s opener, before himself stabbing home the second from close range.

Battling back

“I’ve worked hard to get back, and it’ll keep on improving from now on,” the player smiled, visibly growing in stature in the phase following his goal. “Even a player of his class had to fight to regain his belief,” commented Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, “but after that he had all the confidence you need as a striker.“

Hitzfeld feels Klose had already turned the corner in any case. “He’s been working very hard for the team, went looking for the ball, put himself about in the box, and looked like scoring in the first half. I was sure he’d get his goal eventually,” the coach observed.

One for the boys

Bayern fans will hope Klose’s next goals are not long in the coming, although the somersault celebration will remain a rarity, for the sake of the player’s children. “It was OK to do it because my boys were already in bed,” Klose grinned in midweek. The next match kicks off at the family-friendly hour of 3.30 pm on Saturday – a less propitious time for acrobatics.