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Schlaudraff says goodbye

‘It’s not been as negative as people think’

In scenes reminiscent of his arrival at the club some eleven months ago, Jan Schlaudraff trained in glorious sunshine on Wednesday in front of 2,000 besotted fans. On his first day, the former Aachen striker came off the practice ground and introduced himself to the Munich press corps at a news conference. He faced the media again after Wednesday’s work-out – only this time it was to say farewell.

“It’s not worked out the way I wanted it to,” Schlaudraff acknowledged after a season in which he was never more than a fringe player. The striker is now on his way to Bundesliga rivals Hanover 96 in the hope of a fresh start. “It’s the best solution for both sides,” he freely admitted.

Only fourteen appearances

However, the 24-year-old bears no ill-will towards Bayern. “It’s been a tough year, but not as negative as people might think,” he insisted. A curse seemed to follow him from Aachen, he recalled. He effectively missed the first half of the campaign following surgery on a back problem, was forced to move house twice for reasons beyond his control, and even lived in an unfurnished apartment for a spell when his furniture supplier went bust.

Jan has made a total of 14 appearances for the Bavarians, eight in the Bundesliga and six in the UEFA Cup, all but one of them as a substitute. His solitary start came last weekend in Duisburg, and he has only found the net in non-competitive games. His tally of ten goals in five friendly matches includes a breathtaking seven against Darmstadt on Tuesday.

Big-name rivals

”I’ve been sensational in friendlies, but otherwise it’s all a bit feeble,” Schlaudraff accepted. But why has the man nicknamed ‘Snake’ in the dressing room been unable to break into the team? “The reasons are pretty obvious: Luca Toni, Miroslav Klose, Lukas Podolski. It’s impossible to keep a fourth striker satisfied as well,” noted Ottmar Hitzfeld.

After ultimately losing out to injuries and big-name rivals, Schlaudraff has mixed feelings about this season’s German championship and Cup successes. “I celebrated more freely when I won promotion with Aachen, because I knew I’d made a contribution,” he reflected.

New start

However, the player insisted he was enjoying his last few days in Munich, partly because he is confident about the future and the chance to bounce back with Hanover. “I want to play as often as possible,” he declared, “our aim is to establish the club safely in mid-table. I think good things are on the way for Hanover.”

Schlaudraff is once again hoping to become a net contributor. “I don’t believe you become a worse player for a year at Bayern,” he smiled. He is also hoping to export a very special Bavarian commodity, namely the kind of luck any team needs, and which the men in red enjoyed extravagantly in Getafe. “It would be a dream come true if some of the good fortune has rubbed off on me,” he grinned. He is also hoping for a much easier settling-in process in his new adopted home. “I’ve already bought my furniture and I’m taking it there myself,” he revealed, a very different situation compared to a year ago.