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Van Bommel and Demichelis doubtful

Schweinsteiger fired up for pre-Xmas spurt

Bastian Schweinsteiger swapped places and sporting disciplines with reckless abandon on Thursday. Yesterday it was an international with Germany in Sweden, today he starred at a Ski World Cup news conference in Munich. As a youngster, he was a member of the German ski association (DSV) future prospects squad, and competed against current skiing star Felix Neureuther. The former team-mates and rivals joined forces to promote the Slalom World Cup, to be held on 2 January 2011 at Munich Olympic Park. “We had some fierce duels back then,” recalled Schweinsteiger, revelling in the memory of the last time the pair raced against each other, in Brixen (Bressanone, in South Tyrol) as 13-year-olds: “I was the winner.”

Schweinsteiger is still hoping to be first across the line with Bayern this season. With 12 of 34 Bundesliga matches played, the champions are slightly off the pace in sixth, but are determined to make up the arrears. Bayern visit Leverkusen on Saturday, and are hoping to negotiate the obstacle successfully by coming away with a win. “We want three points, because we have to start closing the gap,” declared Schweinsteiger, describing the visit to the team in second as “extremely important.”

Van Bommel and Demichelis doubtful

Fortunately, all eight of the Bayern men who represented their countries on Wednesday have returned to the Säbener Strasse unhurt. The only problem cases are Mark van Bommel, who withdrew from the Netherlands’ meeting with Turkey as a precaution after a reaction to a knee injury, and Martin Demichelis, who was carrying an injury before joining up with the Argentina squad.

Micho is rated doubtful for the Leverkusen clash, while Van Bommel will undergo treatment and a diagnosis before a final decision on his fitness this Friday. Long-term casualties Arjen Robben, Miroslav Klose, Holger Badstuber and Ivica Olic are definitely out of action.

Pursuing the max

By contrast, Schweinsteiger is fit and raring to go in the five weeks prior to the mid-season break. The schedule features five more Bundesliga fixtures, “and we need maximum points,” the midfielder stated. His conviction about FCB’s chances remains unshaken: “It’s up to us where the title goes.”

Schweinsteiger had been looking forward to participating in the Slalom World Cup early next year in Munich with an exhibition run, “but I won’t be there, unfortunately,” he announced. The Bayern squad set off for their winter training camp in Doha on 2 January. That was better for his mate Neureuther, he jokingly insisted: “I don’t want to disgrace Felix and wreck his season.”