Created on 10-02-2009 at 00:00 AM
The performance centre at the Säbener Strasse will be quieter than usual for the next few days, as eleven Bayern stars are away on international duty. No fewer than eight of the starting line-up for Sunday’s 3-1 victory over Dortmund are absent from club headquarters this week.
“Obviously, we’d have preferred to have them with us,” Jürgen Klinsmann told FCB.tv. “But on the other hand, a change can be as good as a rest. It’s also nice for our overseas players to communicate in their mother tongue for a while,” the head coach continued, resolving “to make the best of the situation” with the players who are still in Munich.
On the international front, the action started on Tuesday evening at the Emirates Stadium in London when Lucio of Brazil and Italy's Luca Toni crossed swords. The South Americans beat the World Cup holders 2-0, denying Azzurri boss Marcello Lippi a record 32nd consecutive undefeated game in charge. Lippi instead shares the honour of a 31-game unbeaten streak with Alfio Basile (Argentina) and Javier Clemente (Spain).
The 65,000 crowd saw Elano (13) and Robinho (27) seal a prestige victory for the Brazilians, with Lucio completing the 90 minutes. Toni played the second half, but saw one shot well saved and also had a goal chalked off for handball.
A second head-to-head between Bayern men takes place on Wednesday evening in Marseille, where Franck Ribéry and France meet Argentina and centre-half Martin Demichelis. “We’re fired up and ready. It’ll be a fantastic game in front of a passionate crowd. I’m expecting us to perform well and win,” Ribéry declared before returning to his former stamping ground at the Stade Velodrome: “I have good memories of Marseille, where I had two fantastic years.”
Mexico showdown for Donovan
Germany trio Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Miroslav Klose are aiming to open the new international year with a win over Norway at the LTU Arena in Düsseldorf. “It’s good to be getting back together after the long break in the international schedule,” commented Lahm, “it’s an important test. Places in the team are at stake.”
World Cup qualifying points are the prize on offer for USA superstar Landon Donovan in a cracking showdown against Mexico. “It’s the ultimate clash over there. It’ll be a bruising battle,” Klinsmann noted. “We’ve imposed our authority on everyone we’ve played so far. If we can do that again, we’ll be tough to beat," Donovan observed on the eve of the final round of CONCACAF zone qualifying.
Match practice for Altintop and Van Buyten
Turkey’s meeting with Cote d’Ivoire in Izmir is only a friendly, but Hamit Altintop will be hoping to follow up three substitute appearances for FCB with a run-out in national colours. Daniel van Buyten will have similar thoughts when he travels home to Belgium for Wednesday evening’s meeting with Slovenia in Genk.
Klinsmann hopes the centre-half benefits from a productive and successful evening with his national squad, as Lucio and Demichelis are currently ahead of him in the club pecking order. “It really hurts every time I have to leave Daniel on the bench, but Lucio and Demichelis are world-class central defenders,” Klinsmann mused. Finally, FCB captain Mark van Bommel appears on the same day for the Netherlands against Tunisia in Rades.