Created on 01-07-2008 at 00:00 AM
A decimated squad reported back for training on Monday, with the club’s Euro 2008 stars on vacation and Franck Ribéry recovering from injury. Jürgen Klinsmann still supervised a group of 12 players, including Hans-Jörg Butt, one of two new signings this summer. Butt has been hired to support Olli Kahn’s successor Michael Rensing as number two goalkeeper.
The 34-year-old former Germany international boasts a wealth of experience and is the holder of one very unusual record, as he has scored 26 goals from the penalty spot in 324 Bundesliga appearances for Hamburger SV and Bayer Leverkusen, more than any other keeper in league history.
Butt spent last season in Lisbon with Benfica, where he gained “interesting insights,” he told fcbayern.de. However, he has returned from Portugal as the perfect candidate to assist Rensing’s career development. “We’re extremely pleased with this transfer, because Hans-Jörg Butt’s international experience was exactly what we were looking for,“ commented Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, “I can’t think of a better player in terms of character.“
Speaking on his first day with his new club, Butt expressed satisfaction at the switch from Lisbon: “After the call came in, I didn’t have to think about it for very long. The chance of playing for Bayern Munich is fantastic."
With his family still quartered in their home town of Oldenburg, the keeper is now searching for a new house in Bavaria, although he does not envisage major problems in settling down: “I’ve felt very much at home from the minute I arrived.” Despite Bayern’s size, the feeling was of a family club, the player reported, after joining a handful of team-mates for a barbecue and to watch the Euro 2008 final in an informal inauguration ceremony for the new roof terrace above the performance centre.
Butt is not the kind of character to sit around and watch for long. “It’s about time we got started,” he declared with a smile ahead of his first formal workout, although the seasoned pro confessed to very slight nerves before commencing his new job: “A little tension is all part and parcel of it.” Butt declared himself highly impressed with the set-up at the Säbener Strasse, and in particular the new performance centre, the like of which he has yet to encounter in his long career: “It’s all really exciting.“
The new campaign promises to be thoroughly exciting too, as the Bavarians seek to defend the Bundesliga title and German Cup, and return to the Champions League after a season away. The new number two keeper, who has made 42 appearances in Europe’s elite club competition, remains totally motivated despite his position behind Rensing in the hierarchy: “I see myself as a part of the team.“ The long and packed fixture schedule, especially with the additional matches in Europe, would mean every man in the squad enjoyed plenty of playing time, the keeper predicted. Furthermore, the goal was not to improve his own personal record but to help the team and the club in whatever way possible.
Nonetheless, Jörg Butt would have nothing against improving his own personal medal collection. He has finished as a runner-up in the Champions League, the Bundesliga and the DFB Cup, but has yet to win a major trophy. He will have high hopes of changing that in his spell at Bayern.