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Six non-starters

Toni ruled out of Hamburg clash

Luca Toni again cut a lonely figure out on pitch 5 at the Säbener Strasse on Wednesday morning, turning in lap after lap adjacent to the first team’s bowling-green quality training pitch 1. Some three weeks after tearing a calf muscle, the Italian is still working his way back to full fitness and has already been ruled out of Friday’s Bundesliga opener at home to Hamburger SV. “Luca will still be missing,” Jürgen Klinsmann confirmed.

“Luca needs some more time,” Miroslav Klose warned, “we don’t want him coming back too soon and then picking up another injury two weeks later.” Toni will indeed be given the time he needs for a full recovery, as Klinsmann is not considering him for selection until the away trip to Dortmund on matchday 2. “We’re very hopeful he’ll make it in time for Dortmund.“

Hamit Altintop is another cause for concern with just two days remaining until the HSV clash. “Hamit has a problem with his right ankle,” Klinsmann reported. The Turkey international complained of pain during the Cup visit to Erfurt last Sunday, evidently caused by a surgical plate inserted to speed his recovery from a fractured metatarsal last March. However, he is expected to feature against HSV.

Tim and Marcell back in contention

There was more positive news of Tim Borowski, described by Klinsmann as “a step further“ than Luca Toni in his recuperation from a knee injury, and a contender for a squad berth. “Tim’s completing the full squad programme, he’s not restricted in any way, and he can play on Friday,” commented the coach, although Borowski has some catching up to do after three weeks on the sidelines: “He has plenty of work ahead of him.“

Left-back Marcell Jansen has also returned to contention after shaking off back pain and coming through Wednesday’s session unscathed. “He’s also no longer restricted and could be in the matchday squad,” Klinsmann said. Number two keeper Hans Jörg Butt is also doing well, the head coach reported, and is expected to resume the team schedule next week.

The injury situation is therefore showing signs of easing. “We’re a little bit further on than we were for the Cup tie in Erfurt,” Klinsmann commented. However, Toni, Franck Ribéry, Willy Sagnol, Martin Demichelis, José Ernesto Sosa and Breno remain definite non-starters.