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Number one Rensing

'The great moment has arrived at last'

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While contemplating his personal fitness programme ahead of pre-season, Michael Rensing thought back to the days when Felix Magath coached Bayern. The keeper and his brother drove to the picturesque town of Rottach-Egern by the Tegernsee lake, pulled on their training shoes, and ran up the 1722 metre Wallberg peak. “I wanted more than just a dull jog. Back then, the peak was a real challenge,” reported the 24-year-old, “it was good mental training too.”

Climbing mountains in the metaphorical sense is what confronts Rensing over the next few months, as he steps into the shoes left behind by Oliver Kahn, one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time. Far from being daunted, Rensing is a model of determination. “I’ve spent so long yearning for this moment, and it’s arrived at last. That’s why I’ll be giving it even more effort than ever,” he told on Thursday.

Klinsmann: Rensing can be the best

Rensing now takes over the number one jersey after spending the last five seasons as Kahn’s understudy. “Obviously there’ll be more focus on me than before. A completely different season lies ahead for me personally. But in any case, I’m the most demanding critic of my own performances. This is a dream come true for me,” the player declared, bristling with resolve and anticipation.

After speaking with new boss Jürgen Klinsmann several times in recent weeks, Rensing is assured of the coach’s full backing. Klinsmann himself publicly stated his position at a news conference on Wednesday. “Michael Rensing will start the season as undisputed number one. We’re looking to help him develop, and we’ll give him the time and the support he needs. He can become an outstanding goalkeeper, both here and internationally.” New signing Hans-Jörg Butt will also take responsibility for helping Rensing hone his skills.

Focused on club for now

Rensing made a total of 17 competitive appearances last term, four more than current Germany keeper Jens Lehmann, including the recently-concluded Euro 2008. “For the most part, I made my contribution and underlined my credentials,” commented Rensing. He has yet to finish on the losing side in a total of 23 first-team outings, a streak he is hoping to extend for as long as possible.

Should he deliver the goods, the self-assured 24-year-old may find another level of responsibility waiting for him very soon. “If you perform well as Bayern goalkeeper, you’re bound to be in the frame for the national team. But first of all, my focus is on Bayern, although obviously my dream is to play for Germany at some point,” he admitted. The 1722 metre Wallberg will seem less like a mountain and more a minor hurdle when that comes to pass.