Created on 27-03-2013 at 00:00 AM
Manuel Neuer was beaming from ear to ear when he arrived at the Säbener Strasse training facility on Wednesday afternoon. Model professional as he is, the keeper had already put his error in Germany's World Cup qualifier against Kazakhstan behind him, and was instead enjoying his 27th birthday. Manuel had a cake in one hand as he made his way into the Performance Center, where his team-mates were waiting to greet him. After the obligatory chorus of Happy Birthday to You, the stars immediately set about their work, as the make or break phase of the season starts now with two crucial home fixtures against Hamburg and Juventus.
The good news on Wednesday was that all the club’s internationals returned from World Cup qualifying and friendly match action without injuries worthy of note. The players who featured for their national teams on Tuesday evening reported to the Performance Center on Wednesday to work out on exercise bikes. The others, including Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos and Dante, took to the practice ground as normal.
Gomez set to resume training
Mario Gomez missed Germany's international double-header with injury, but was outdoors on Wednesday in a session supervised by fitness coach Andreas Kornmayer. And it wasn't a light workout either, as Mario completed a programme of sprints, interval running and dribbling. The striker is expected to resume the squad programme on Thursday.
The same goes for Schweinsteiger, suspended for Germany's meeting with Kazakhstan and now raring to go in the weekend Bundesliga clash with Hamburg. “I'm ready. We have to concentrate on Hamburg and secure a good result," said the vice captain, who is hoping he and his team-mates can seal the league title on Saturday. “We've not won anything for two years, but we're on the brink of a trophy now. It would give us a boost," he told FCB.tv.
Even if the results go Bayern's way, there will be no major celebration, chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge declared last week. Schweinsteiger understands the reasoning: “We all have the game against Juve on Tuesday in our sights." The 28-year-old feels the meeting with the Italian league leaders will be “very tight. At the end of the day, I hope our class and quality means we prevail."