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Unshaken by injuries

Squad players: We’ll win, win, and win again

Daniel van Buyten is the latest player confined to the treatment room at Bayern, after the Belgium defender returned from his country’s midweek fixture against Austria nursing a back problem. The centre-half missed training on Thursday and is now rated doubtful for Saturday’s crunch Bundesliga encounter with third-placed Hannover.

The development means the injury roster at the club is up to 11 players, or in other words, one complete team. However, Bastian Schweinsteiger (foot) could yet be fit in time to play on Saturday, while both Ivica Olic (broken nose) and Van Buyten have not yet been entirely ruled out. Whatever, coach Louis van Gaal will definitely be forced to improvise with his team selection.

Call for team unity

“An unusually large number of us are injured,” agreed Toni Kroos, “we’ll be missing a number of important players. It's a tough situation, no doubt about it.” Especially as eight points from the first seven matches is Bayern’s worst-ever start to a league season, and Saturday’s match has a must-win character. “A 13-point gap to the top is a lot, even at this early stage, so we have to win, win, and win again,” urged Holger Badstuber.

“We’re aware of the situation and know we have to set off on a winning run,” added Kroos. “We’re totally focused on reducing the gap.” The dramatic selection situation may yet have the effect of ratcheting up the spirit of unity in the dressing room to an even higher level than it already is. “The team which runs out on Saturday won’t have played together too often, so we’ll just have to be even more committed to each other. Every one of us has to take on responsibility, to himself and to the team,” declared Badstuber.

Quality in every position

Kroos is convinced the squad players will rise to the occasion. “Regardless of the line-up, we’re better than Hannover in every position,” the Germany international insisted. Badstuber also feels there is no reason to panic: “Some key players are missing, but we can’t do anything about that. The team we field on Saturday will be capable of beating Hannover.”

The champions’ sole aim is to defeat the visitors from Lower Saxony and begin the job of reeling in the teams ahead of them in the standings. Unshakeable belief was still the order of the day in the dressing room, Badstuber stated. “The players remain convinced we can top the table at the end of the season,” confirmed Kroos, “and we know exactly what we have to do: win our matches.”

Bayern’s ‘Injured XI’

Sattelmeier - Alaba, Van Buyten, Breno, Contento - Robben, Schweinsteiger, Van Bommel, Ribéry - Klose, Olic

Bayern’s ‘Fit XI’

Butt - Lahm, Demichelis, Badstuber, Braafheid - Altintop, Kroos, Tymoshchuk (Ottl), Pranjic - Müller, Gomez

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