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Training resumes

FCB gear up for Mainz but Rafinha ruled out

After a rest day on Tuesday, the stars reported back to the Säbener Strasse facility for training at 10 am on Wednesday. A crowd of around 1,000 watched as Jupp Heynckes drilled his men in possession play, attacking moves and positioning. The 90-minute workout concluded with a tournament played on reduced-sized pitches. In the afternoon, the players who were not in the starting line-up for last Sunday's 2-0 victory in Stuttgart returned to the practce ground for a second session on the day. In keeping with the springlike temperatures in Munich, the players were lively, energetic and fresh in both workouts.

That's no surprise either, as each man battles for a place in the side to face Mainz away from home on Saturday afternoon. The trip promises to be a tricky one, as David Alaba acknowledged. “It's always been tough in Mainz in recent seasons," commented the Austria international," they keep it tight and they're always aggressive. We'll have to resist."

Shaq: I’m lucky it’s no worse

The focus on the practice ground over the next few days will be firmly on the weekend Bundesliga encounter, although the squad currently lacks Xherdan Shaqiri and Rafinha, both struggling with ankle injuries at present. “It was unlucky, but I'm fortunate it's not any worse," Shaqiri reflected on Tuesday. The player said he was already feeling much better, but he will not be fit in time for the Mainz clash.

Rafinha, who was initially rated doubtful for Saturday, has now been ruled out of the match. According to the Brazilian himself, it will be another four to five days before he can return to the training ground, as the injured ankle is still swollen. The full-back had been hoping to resume daily training before Friday, but both he and Shaqiri are now expected to rejoin the squad at the beginning of next week.