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Willing and able

Versatile Kroos happy to help where he can

Toni Kroos opened with positive news. “I’m in good shape, and I’m fit,” he told the lunchtime news conference audience at the Säbener Strasse. In the light of the club’s current selection problems, that was more than just a nice thing to hear, as the 20-year-old is likely to play a pivotal midfield role in Saturday’s vital Bundesliga clash at home to third-placed Hannover 96.

“It's a tough situation,” Kroos acknowledged. With the last significant international break of the autumn over, Bayern are determined to start closing the 13-point gap between themselves and the Bundesliga leaders – this despite the severe crop of injuries currently affecting Louis van Gaal’s squad. “We’re missing a number of important players,” said Kroos, “but we still have to be putting out a team capable of beating Hannover.”

Kroos has demonstrated his increasing versatility in the midfield area of late. For his club, he has appeared on both the right and the left side, and as a playmaker in the hole behind the front man. For Germany, he deputised for then injured Bastian Schweinsteiger in the classic defensive holding role.