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Time to stand and fight

Squad players step up to turnaround task

The weights and sports rehab section of the FCB performance centre at the Säbener Strasse can be found on the first floor to the left. It is where injured players work towards a comeback on the variety of fitness machines, or report to the adjacent medical unit for treatment. During breaks, those who so wish can gaze out of the panorama windows and watch their fit team-mates working out on the training ground.

It was a case of standing and jostling room only at the windows on Friday lunchtime, as the wistful faces of Arjen Robben, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Co observed a final pre-match training session, in which Louis van Gaal fielded a decimated first team against Hermann Gerland’s third division reserves by way of a get-to-know-you exercise ahead of Saturday’s Bundesliga meeting with Hannover 96.

Van Gaal is without at least nine senior players for the Allianz Arena showdown. “I’ve never experienced a situation like this,” admitted the Bayern boss. Bastian Schweinsteiger and Daniel van Buyten were candidates but only for the subs’ bench, the 59-year-old reported. However, despite the current injury misery, FCB must move on from their worst-ever start to a domestic campaign with just eight points from seven matches. In other words, only a win will do against the men from Lower Saxony.