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Captain retakes the helm

Van Bommel and Toni set for Freiburg clash

It has been “a good week” for Bayern, Louis van Gaal announced some 48 hours ahead of the Bundesliga trip to Freiburg. The likes of Schweinsteiger, Klose and Tymoshchuk were either rested or only made brief appearances for their countries in midweek, leaving them fresh for club duty. However, the most important development was the return to contention of Mark van Bommel for the vital league clash.

The club captain, who ruptured a tendon and broke the big toe on his left foot in the Bundesliga opener nine and a half weeks ago, is “not yet ready for a full 90 minutes,” but will at least return to the matchday squad, Van Gaal said on Thursday. But might the Dutch midfielder start the match? “I think he can.”

The head coach declined to confirm whether Van Bommel would indeed appear in the starting line-up, although he underlined the player’s significance to the team: “Players like Mark van Bommel are extremely important. He’s responsible for the organisation – and has to open his mouth where necessary.” The team had lacked that authoritative influence recently, Van Gaal continued.