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'Close enough to touch'

Exhibition workout hosted by partner HVB

The workout was demanding enough, but Mark van Bommel and company really needed their reserves of stamina afterwards, as they approached a throng of Bayern fans great and small waiting for the stars at the dressing room door. Jürgen Klinsmann and his men duly signed autographs and posed for snaps until the last of the supporters went away satisfied, bringing down the curtain on an exciting afternoon.

Following the inaugural event in 2006, Bayern Premium partner HypoVereinsbank (HVB) welcomed the first-team squad to the HVB-Club sports centre in Tucherpark for an exhibition training session, billed as “FCB close enough to touch.” A crowd of more than 500 HVB staff and their families leapt at the chance to see and meet Luca Toni, Franck Ribéry, Philipp Lahm and all the other household names in the flesh.

The spectators witnessed a 75-minute workout, culminating in a ten-against-ten warm-up match. Apart from recuperating duo Michael Rensing and Miroslav Klose and the rested Lucio, but with the inclusion of up-and-coming pros Holger Badstuber and Thomas Müller, head coach Klinsmann supervised the complete squad through the session on an immaculately prepared surface.

“It makes a nice change,” commented Hamit Altintop after the workout, wittily presented by Allianz Arena stadium announcer Stephan Lehmann. “We don’t do this very often, so we always look forward to it. Lots of people come to watch and it’s very enjoyable,” said Germany defender Lahm. At the very end, a dozen kids took part in an unforgettable practice match in teams captained by keepers Jörg Butt and Thomas Kraft, with Klinsmann coaching both sides.

With only three days to go until a crunch Bundesliga meeting at home to Schalke, and for all the relaxed and family-friendly atmosphere, the squad has not lost sight of the essentials. “We want to keep up the momentum from our last few games and beat Schalke,” declared midfielder Andreas Ottl. Added Bastian Schweinsteiger: “We’re all dreaming of winning the title again.”