presented by
Ribéry sidelined

Five stars set to miss Bamberg friendly

Bayern’s mid-season preparations for the second half of the 2008-9 campaign have entered the most critical phase. Eleven days prior to the first competitive fixture of 2009, a DFB German Cup Round of 16 tie away to VfB Stuttgart, the Bundesliga champions have begun the process of fine-tuning their efforts. “We need to get back to doing things automatically as soon as possible,” coach Jürgen Klinsmann explained after the squad’s return from the Dubai training camp.

The next test is Saturday’s friendly visit to Eintracht Bamberg, currently 14th in the fourth division south, although Klinsmann regards the match as (very literally) a warm-up: “Our priority on Saturday is actually re-acclimatising to the weather,” the coach explained to Indeed, the players have visibly struggled to adapt to the freezing winter temperatures in Munich following their ten-day stay in the Persian Gulf.

Tricky playing surface

“I’ve also heard we’re going to be playing on a very difficult pitch,” Klinsmann continued. The turf at the Weismain Waldstadion is reportedly covered in snow. “They’re going to roll the pitch, but the players will still have to adapt to tough conditions,” the former world-class striker observed.

Klinsmann’s side defeated Al Jazira 3-2 and Al Wheda 3-1 in their first two winter friendlies. As in those games, the coach intends to give run-outs to all his available players this Saturday. “We’ll rotate the whole squad in Bamberg,” Klinsmann confirmed, “but that’ll ease off in Kaiserslautern.” FCB are scheduled to play two further friendlies this week, the aforementioned trip to Kaiserslautern (Monday) and away to Mainz (Thursday).

Ribéry and Sosa sidelined

However, the squad for the weekend is far from complete. Franck Ribéry took a painful knock in Thursday training and was restricted to the weights room on Friday. “It’s nothing tragic,” reported team doctor Rüdiger Degwert, but especially in the light of the anticipated heavy pitch, the France star will stay at home as a precaution.

Mark van Bommel also remains in Munich despite recovering from a knee twisted in the meeting with Saudi cracks Al Wheda. “It looks good again for him,” Klinsmann assured reporters. José Ernesto Sosa has picked up the flu and misses the Bamberg trip along with Lukas Podolski and Toni Kroos.

Poldi and Kroos on the mend

Poldi has slowly shaken off a heavy bout of flu and is currently reporting to fitness coach Thomas Wilhelmi for light exercise. The Germany international is expected to resume the squad programme next week.

Kroos, out of action with ankle ligament damage, has more ground to make up, although the youthful talent has resumed jogging. He will up his workload in the course of next week, also undertaking stability and coordination exercises to speed the healing process.