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Euro 2008 stars

'Magnificent seven' report back for pre-season

Even a day of driving rain failed to dampen the spirits of Jürgen Klinsmann and his coaching staff on Thursday. Three and a half weeks ahead of the first competitive fixture of the new term, and with the exception of the injured Franck Ribéry, the last of the club's Euro 2008 stars resumed training at the Säbener Strasse. Miroslav Klose, Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Lukas Podolski, Marcell Jansen, Hamit Altintop and new signing Tim Borowski all arrived for work bang on time and in the best of spirits.

After a collective welcome and guided tour of the new performance centre, the seven returnees plunged straight into a full day of training. In common with all the other players on day one after vacation, the seven completed a series of fitness tests to set benchmarks for values such as flexibility and co-ordination. The results will form the basis of individual training programmes for each player.

Back to work

Euro 2008 was generally successful for the German contingent, who made the final against Spain, and for Hamit Altintop, a semi-finalist with Turkey, but the last lingering memories of the tournament were banished as of Thursday. "You still replay the games in your head," revealed Lahm, "but it's back to business as of today. It's time to think about the future and not dwell on the past any more.“

The 'magnificent seven' were also pleased to be back from holiday. "As of today, all that matters is Bayern," insisted Altintop. "I'm looking forward to pre-season,“ Borowski commented. The stars have just three and a half weeks to reach peak fitness in time for a DFB German Cup tie away to Rot-Weiß Erfurt. "It'll be plenty, because we only had two and a half weeks vacation. Our fitness levels haven't decreased much," argued Lahm, freely admitting he had spent his summer break "with my feet up“.

Perfect conditions

The foot injury Lahm sustained against Spain "has healed well," the full-back reported. "The stitches are out and my boots fit again," he grinned. The only problem on the first day back was acclimatising to the new performance centre. "I couldn't work out the new underground car park," Lahm confessed, "luckily, Michael Rensing came along and opened the gate.“

The 24-year-old is impressed with the summer changes at club headquarters: "It's all great and the style appeals to me.“ Altintop praised the "top-class conditions," while Borowski felt "the facilities are not just unique in Germany, but probably worldwide. These are the optimal conditions for success.“

Gunning for trophies

The players are united in their desire for medals this term. "It's always about winning things here," acknowledged Lahm. Jürgen Klinsmann's arrival as head coach was an additional motivating factor, Altintop argued: "Everyone starts from scratch under a new coach." The return of the 'magnificent seven' means the battle for places in the team has opened with a vengeance. "We're ready to go for it straight away,“ Borowski summarised.