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Poldi's summer cracker

Four sidelined as Bayern visit Köln

Bayern's sixth pre-season friendly is all about an early reunion with Lukas Podolski, when the men from Munich travel to face Bundesliga rivals FC Köln on Friday evening (kick-off 8.45 pm). "It's a cracker," said Podolski, who returned to his beloved hometown club from Bayern just a matter of weeks ago. "It's a special game for Lukas," agreed Bastian Schweinsteiger, revealing he had swapped texts with his mate Poldi during the week.

"He's looking forward to it, and to seeing us all again," reported Schweinsteiger, "all eyes in Cologne are on him, and now we're going there. But we don't intend doing him any favours." With only a week or so to go until the DFB Cup first round tie in Neckarelz, FCB have now reached a critical juncture in pre-season.

Ribéry, Toni, Olic and Kraft sidelined

Bayern coach Louis van Gaal is currently occupied with selecting a first-choice line-up. In Köln, and in the following day's fund-raiser against the McFit-Allstars in Gelsenkirchen, he will again be without a clutch of key players. Franck Ribéry, Luca Toni, Ivica Olic and Thomas Kraft did not travel to the Rhineland on Thursday, setting off for home in Munich instead.