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Welcome break

Stars summon up strength for Dortmund task

On Thursday, Miroslav Klose may well have set out for the rivers and lakes around Munich, ready to indulge his passion for angling. Bastian Schweinsteiger might have spent the day checking out the city centre boutiques and cafes. And Mr and Mrs Thomas Müller may have saddled up and gone riding. It was a day for the stars to catch up on their leisure pursuits and hobbies, as Louis van Gaal gave his men Thursday off.

Two days after the Champions League victory in Basel and three ahead of the Bundesliga trip to face Borussia Dortmund, the coach was only too glad to hand Mark van Bommel and Co a break from football. “I think it’s good to have a bit of peace and quiet, and get away from it all for a time,” Van Gaal commented. It is the team’s first day off in more than three weeks: “It's the first time I’ve been able to give them a break in this phase of the season.” Bayern have contested six matches since 11 September, but Thursday was a chance to recharge spent batteries and focus on the tasks ahead.

Welcome break

In der Ruhe liegt die Kraft - ‘Strength is born of tranquillity’, according to a German proverb, and Van Gaal has clearly chosen to follow that thought in readying his players for the next match. “I think the peace and quiet is more important than the result in Basel,” the 59-year-old argued. However, Friday and Saturday will be spent on the training ground in detailed preparation for the meeting with the side in second.