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Faith in Shaqiri and Co pays off in spades

At half-time in Saturday evening’s meeting with Dortmund, the FCB stars witnessed the depressing sight of a seriously injured team-mate receiving treatment in the dressing room. It was a shock, prompting the players to send warm greetings to Holger Badstuber, who is recovering from cruciate ligament surgery in hospital, prior to Wednesday evening's final Champions League group fixture. “Best wishes Holger!" pronounced a banner behind which Philipp Lahm and Co posed for the cameras, holding up a shirt bearing Holger’s number 28.

The message was received and understood. “You're the best!" the injured centre-half responded via Facebook, “many thanks for the good wishes, and now go win the group." No sooner said than done: Badstuber's team-mates dominated the full 90 minutes against BATE Borisov, winning 4-1 to seal first place in Group F. “At the end of the day, we've negotiated the group comfortably," said Thomas Müller.