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Progress on last year

Belief and resolve deliver opening day win

To the majority of football watchers, Mark van Bommel is a controversial character. The Bayern captain was “my aggressive leader” to former boss Ottmar Hitzfeld, but what most fans don’t realise is that the midfielder is as thoughtful and honest off the field as he is a robust tackler on it. Unsurprisingly, at least to those who know the man behind the public persona, the Dutch international is a sharp football analyst too.

“Last season, we only had two points after three matches. This time, we already have three points from our first game, which means things are looking up,” a grinning Van Bommel quipped after Friday’s 2-1 victory over VfL Wolfsburg. “Last season, we drew our opening match, but we’ve taken three points this time,” said chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, “it’s always good to win your first match. It settles everyone down and boosts the players’ confidence.”