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‘He plays like a man’

Tymoshchuk excels as stand-in centre-back

It was typical Ruud van Nistelrooy. Using all his skill and experience, the 34-year-old world-class striker beat two defenders in the Bayern box, and suddenly had the whole of the goal to aim at. The Dutch hitman steadied himself before pulling the trigger, but Anatoliy Tymoshchuk hurled out a leg to perform a last-ditch block, highly probably preventing his team from going a goal behind in a tight encounter.

This and numerous other decisive interventions made Tymoshchuk one of Bayern’s most valuable players in Hamburg. The Ukraine star repeatedly threw himself into physical challenges, pulled off sliding tackles, and battled away with all his might. “It was another classy display by Tymoshchuk,” said chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, heaping praise on the 31-year-old: “I like his approach. He gets stuck in and plays like a man. I think that’s terrific.”