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Rotation ahead

Coach: Playing time for all the squad

In the eleven weeks from now until the mid-season break, Bayern will contest 17 competitive fixtures, with the club’s current internationals chalking up another three matches for a total of 20 games in 70 or so days. “It’s two games a week from now on,” Jürgen Klinsmann reacted, “so there’ll inevitably be rotation in certain positions.”

The coach initiated that process in the midweek DFB Cup clash with Nürnberg, making four changes to the team beaten by Bremen four days earlier: Daniel van Buyten, Mark van Bommel, Christian Lell and Lukas Podolski dropped to the bench, with Massimo Oddo, Andreas Ottl, Tim Borowski and Miroslav Klose in the starting line-up.

Keen to compete

Line-up changes will be the order of the day from now on. “To compete in Europe and cope with the rhythm of the Cup, the Bundesliga and the Champions League, we need rotation – not in every position, but definitely in certain areas,” Klinsmann explained.

The key factor is the consistent depth and quality in the Bayern squad. “We have a very good playing staff,” the coach opined, “up front, in midfield, defence – we have two players for every position.“ That naturally means intense competition for places. “A few of our players have made great progress,” Klinsmann observed, pleased with the improving form of the stars involved at Euro 2008 last summer.

Promising trend

The best example is Miroslav Klose, scorer of the vital opening goal against Nürnberg. “It was a sensational strike, a goal of the month,” Klinsmann enthused, “he’s slowly but surely getting to where he should be and where he’s set his own benchmarks. You can clearly see he’s on an upward trend.“

That applies to the whole squad, the coach feels, singling out Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Andreas Ottl in that respect. The Nürnberg tie also saw maiden 90-minute appearances for Tim Borowski, scorer of Bayern’s second, and Massimo Oddo. “He did a great job,“ the coach commented. “The increased competition livens the place up.”

Games for all

The packed schedule means none of the stars need fear extended spells on the bench. “They’ll all get plenty of playing time. It’s a very, very long season,” said Klinsmann, hinting he may be ready for more rotation in Saturday’s trip to Hanover. “We’ll have to see who we allow to take a rest.“