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New methods and a new role

Keepers learning to be first line of attack

A crowd scene developed in the six-yard box in front of the Bayern goal. Six burly players jostled and pushed each other in the densely-packed space, waiting for the ball to come over from the right wing. The cross swung ominously into the danger zone – but a safe pair of hands intervened and plucked the ball away to safety. Jörg Butt it was who effortlessly beat all his opponents to the ball. In a real match, the strikers would be left gasping for air, but it’s a different story in training. These strikers actually consist mainly of air, contained within plastic outers, decorated with black hair and not unfriendly facial expressions. The mannequins are the new training-ground assistants at Bayern.

“It’s a good way of creating more of a match situation for our work on crosses,” Walter Junghans explained to, gesturing at the 1.90 metre inflatables. “Obviously, the mannequins don’t move around, but the keeper still has to position himself to deal with them, and he has to run or leap round them, like he would in a game,” the goalkeeping coach continued.