Created on 23-07-2008 at 00:00 AM
Tuesday counted as a good day for the club: the players worked out in their brand new kit, some 15,000 loyal fans flocked to the Allianz Arena for an open training session to mark the official start of the season, and the sun repeatedly poked its head out from behind the clouds. The supporters' happiness was completed by the appearance of a surprise but wholly welcome guest, as Franck Ribéry became the last member of the senior squad to return to Munich in readiness for the new campaign.
"I'm really delighted to be back in Munich," commented the Frenchman, still on crutches following surgery on an ankle ligament injury, but able to cross the Allianz Arena turf unassisted to a rapturous reception from the crowd. Ribéry will report for a medical on Wednesday, before a decision on a treatment plan for the 25-year-old over the coming weeks.
Comeback in September
The player himself believes he will be ready for a comeback "in September," nicely on time for the start of the Champions League group stage. Even though the Frenchman still requires crutches to walk, he is bristling with determination ahead of the new campaign. Asked whether he would feel able to out-dribble his marker even with one foot in plaster, he replied with a grin: "If I get this kind of support from the fans, it won't be a problem.“
Ribéry is hoping Bayern can defend their domestic double and make an impression in Europe. "I hope the mood in the dressing room is as good as it was from the start to the end last season. If that's the case, I'm sure we'll be very successful again," Ribéry observed.
The crowd's heartfelt welcome on the winger's return was matched by a spontaneous warm reception from the entire playing and coaching staff, who broke off their training session to greet their injured team-mate. However, the stars soon returned to their punishing workout, the last run-out before the T-Home Supercup meeting with Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday evening.
The session at the Allianz Arena featured a nine-against-nine match with one free player (Tim Borowski), with the teams wearing the new kits unveiled earlier. The fans enjoyed a lively encounter with one or two refined pieces of skill as well, hopefully a taste of things to come this term.