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Ribery back in training

Get-to-know-you brunch for all

What do passionate Bayern fans do of a Sunday morning? A trip to the Säbener Strasse perhaps. Some 1,000 excited and curious supporters gave up a lie-in or a lazy breakfast this weekend in favour of watching their heroes in red and new coach Louis van Gaal hard at work on the practice ground.

The crowd were rewarded for their efforts with a good, long look at Franck Ribéry. After a two-day break from training caused by Achilles problems in both ankles, the France superstar returned to the pitch, filling the creative role behind the front two in the full-up practice match which concluded the workout. He then delighted the fans with a long autograph-signing session.

Van Gaal keen ‘to know everything’

The end of formal training was not the end of the players’ working day. With the goal of getting to know all his players much better, freshly-hired boss Van Gaal arranged a brunch for the entire squad and the coaching and backroom staff, to which the players’ wives and girlfriends were also invited.

Van Gaal’s philosophy includes a thorough knowledge of the stars as private individuals. “I want to know whether a player’s married, or whether he has problems at home. It’s the holistic principle which I’m always talking about. I want to know everything about my players. That’s why I hold many, many face-to-face talks,“ van Gaal was quoted as saying by the mass-circulation Bild am Sonntag.

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