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‘The toe’s still on’

Van Bommel and Toni pass fitness test

Shimmies, close control, dribbling and passing, first with the left foot, then with the right, sometimes with an opponent, sometimes without. Mark van Bommel repeated this sequence over and over again on Wednesday, as the 500 or so die-hards at the FCB training ground saw for themselves that the club captain had successfully come through the previous day’s friendly. As Van Bommel himself said: “The toe’s still on.”

A broken big toe and ruptured tendon in his left foot forced the FCB skipper to the sidelines for nine long weeks, but he completed a 60-minute comeback away to Jahn Regensburg on Tuesday evening. “I’m delighted I got back to playing,” he commented the following day. There had been no reaction to the injury, he added.

Van Bommel said he had used the current break for internationals to train “really hard”, as he seeks to recapture the normal rhythm of a pro. “But I’m feeling good, very good, and ready for a competitive game,” he continued. Could that be Saturday’s Bundesliga trip to Freiburg? “The coach decides,” Van Bommel stated.