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Pros versus juniors

Toni fires hat-trick in warm-up match

Could it be a promising sign for the crunch fixtures against Wolfsburg and Barcelona? At the very minimum, Luca Toni shook off his injury-enforced cobwebs on Wednesday, netting a hat-trick as the senior players defeated the FCB U-19 youths in a 50-minute warm-up match. “Luca is hungry, he’s desperate to get back to the fray,” Jürgen Klinsmann smiled after the striker’s first halfway serious game of football in more than four weeks.

“Luca’s really up for it now. The last few weeks have totally gotten on his nerves,” Klinsmann revealed to Toni has been sidelined since late February with an inflamed Achilles tendon, but finally resumed the squad training programme on Monday. “He’s back up to speed,” reported Klinsmann, “he’s confident the Achilles is 100 percent OK again, and that’s important mentally.”

Regaining rhythm

The striker will now focus on regaining his rhythm. “The goals will follow automatically once that happens,” Klinsmann said, another reason why the semi-competitive match against the U-19s had been important for the Italian. As an added bonus, Massimo Oddo benefited from match exposure for the first time since missing the Karlsruhe fixture with a calf problem.

José Ernesto Sosa, Zé Roberto and Oddo himself scored the remaining goals, with Vincent Bönig netting for the youths. “We’ve done nothing but train for ten days. A little competitive action is good for the lads, and a nice change from yet another training workout,” Klinsmann explained. The coach has been working with a rump squad since last week due to the current round of international matches.