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Burning desire

Curious Altintop drops in to view new set-up

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Jürgen Klinsmann was not the only one to gawp in astonishment on Wednesday when Hamit Altintop appeared at the Säbener Strasse a full day before the end of his official vacation. "Nice to see you here so soon," remarked Klinsmann as he greeted Altintop at the new performance centre café at midday, paying the Turkey international "a huge compliment. You were fantastic at the Euro.“

Altintop was amazed in turn as he took in the totally renovated former professionals' quarters. "It's a huge surprise. It's very, very nice,“ he told The performance centre was indeed one of the reasons he dropped in at the Säbener Strasse during his holiday. "Naturally, I was curious to see what it all looks like. I thought I'd come by and say hello.“

Outstanding at the Euro

As Klinsmann had a previous engagement, fitness supremo Thomas Wilhelmi took Altintop on a guided tour of the new facility. The player was especially taken with the fitness area and the relaxation spaces. Exactly three weeks after Turkey's semi-final exit to Germany, Hamit can hardly wait for his first working day back at the club.

"I've recovered very well on holiday and I'm looking forward to training with the new coach,“ declared Altintop, named in the Euro 2008 all-star team as the brave Turks' best player. "After we finished third at the 2002 World Cup, it was important for Turkey as a nation to show we've continued to develop, especially in terms of tactics and discipline, on and off the field,“ he summarised.

Hard work for first-choice status

Altintop is now totally focused on Bayern. "My personal target is to be playing,“ he declared, keen to retain the first-choice status he achieved last term. "Good, hard work" would be the key, he felt, starting on Thursday.