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Last few days

Hitzfeld and Kahn’s farewell countdown

Ottmar Hitzfeld rewarded his squad for beating Duisburg with Sunday and Monday off, a time for relaxation and recreation ahead of the last week of the season. With the double in the bag, Bayern have nothing to play for in sporting terms, but the Bayern coach and his captain Oliver Kahn still face a period laden with emotion and nostalgia. previews their final days at the club:

Tuesday 13 May: The players and officials report to Munich airport in the afternoon for the flight to an evening benefit match in Darmstadt (kick-off 8.15 pm at the Böllenfalltor stadium). The match is Hitzfeld and Kahn’s last friendly with Bayern on German soil. “I’m looking forward to it,” the General declared.

Wednesday 14 May/Thursday 15 May: Hitzfeld has scheduled public training sessions for the morning on both days. As it is the Whitsun holidays in Bavaria and many other German states, huge crowds are expected to turn out and watch Hitzfeld and Kahn at work on the training ground.

Friday 16 May: Hitzfeld and Kahn’s final training session is closed to the public, as always on the eve of a match. There may be nothing left for the Reds to play for, but the coach will demand full concentration at home to Hertha BSC Berlin on Saturday, and he will use all his experience to instil the requisite attitude and frame of mind. In the late afternoon, again following the club’s normal pre-match routine, Hitzfeld and Kahn will board the bus with the squad to Limmerhof on the outskirts of the city for dinner and an overnight stay.

Saturday 17 May: The big day arrives. The final Bundesliga fixture of the season against Berlin will be “a huge farewell match for Oliver Kahn and me,” Hitzfeld confirmed. The team bus leaves Limmerhof for the Allianz Arena in the early afternoon, before the normal pre-match rituals of changing, the warm-up, the team talk, and taking the field. However, the ground will become a cauldron of emotion once the final whistle blows at around 5.15 pm and the championship shield is officially presented to captain Kahn. “It’ll be a terrific feeling,” Hitzfeld commented. After the initial celebrations, the team will parade in open-top Audis to the central Marienplatz square in Munich, where the players, coaches and officials appear on the Town Hall balcony in front of the cheering thousands. A demanding night of partying awaits Kahn and Hitzfeld.

Sunday 18 May: ‘Keep going, keep going’ has always been Kahn’s guiding philosophy, and despite Saturday’s celebrations, the squad (minus most of its current internationals) is on the move again on Sunday, flying to Asia for a ten-day tour. The trip will provide Hitzfeld and Kahn with a spectacular conclusion to their time at the club. “It’ll be a very relaxed atmosphere,” Hitzfeld announced, keenly anticipating the tour: “I have a tremendous experience ahead of me, and then at the end of May, it’s over.”