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First-timer at 31

Toni set for maiden Champions League outing

As of last week, the north-east Bavarian town of Erdenbürg boasts a newborn citizen with the given names “Luca“ and “Toni“, according to the register of births published in the Oberpfälzer Zeitung. It is perhaps unsurprising that the names Luca and Toni are growing in local popularity, as the striker of the same name is powering his way into the Bayern Munich record books with a phenomenal 55 scorer points – 42 goals and 13 assists – in 50 competitive appearances since joining the club a little over a year ago.

After missing the early matches this term with injury, the Italian has scored three goals and provided one assist in three Bundesliga outings so far, including a brace and a lay-off in the 3-0 victory over FC Köln last Saturday.

Deadly marksman

“Luca’s sheer physical presence makes him incredibly hard to stop,” coach Jürgen Klinsmann commented after Toni muscled his way to the opening headed (or more precisely shouldered) goal in Cologne. “He instinctively knows where the ball’s going to go. He has a nose for goal and tremendous positional sense. And he doesn’t stop to think, he just puts it in, with his shoulder, his left, his right, whatever.“

“You could kick him out of bed at three in the morning and put him in the penalty box, he’d still score goals,” grinned Uli Hoeneß after Saturday’s match. Bayern and Toni make a great team, the general manager believes. “I sense Munich feels more and more like home for Luca,” he mused. The Italian certainly seems better loved in Germany than in Italy at the present time.