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Satisfied Sammer

Eight-man squad starts preparation for Mainz

Javi Martinez went home to Spain, Rafinha visited Disneyland Paris, and Dante relaxed by Lake Geneva, but after a first weekend off in two months, Jupp Heynckes had his men back in for training at the Säbener Strasse on Monday afternoon. Due to the international break and injuries, the head coach took charge of just eight players.

Bastian Schweinsteiger, Martinez, Luiz Gustavo, Dante, Rafinha, Mitchell Weiser, Tom Starke and U-19 keeper Leopold Zingerle formed the rump squad on the day, as Heynckes launched his preparations for next Saturday's Bundesliga meeting with Mainz. Despite the large number of absentees, Matthias Sammer described the day's training sessions as “top" when he spoke to afterwards.

The board director for sport expressed special satisfaction with the fact that both Schweinsteiger and Martinez were not called up for international duty but remained in Munich instead. The German midfielder has used the time to eliminate a fitness deficit caused by lengthy injury problems. “What Bastian has done is train very intensively over a longer period of time. He's back up to speed now," commented Sammer. Martinez has continued the process of acclimatisation after his arrival from Spain.

The first tryout of the two stars as partners in holding roles, last Friday’s 1-0 victory over Qatar in a hastily arranged friendly, was “important", Sammer continued. “They interpreted their roles very well. We were pleased," the 45-year-old said, noting that the coaching staff expect the pair to cement a productive partnership very quickly: “They’re two very different types of player, but both possess a large amount of footballing intelligence and creativity, so each will work out what makes the other one tick relatively quickly."