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‘It's very special’

Dante's delight at return to former home

It's been a productive week for Dante. On Monday, he brought the Bundesliga championship shield to the Allianz Arena, ready to take pride of place in the FC Bayern Erlebniswelt. On Tuesday, he was named in Brazil's Confederations Cup squad. He was the star turn on Wednesday’s edition of FCB News, and he was the player selected to appear at the daily lunchtime news conference at the Säbener Strasse on Thursday.

Dante is the centre of attention at the moment, and he is set to continue in the spotlight this Saturday when he appears at centre-back for Bayern at Borussia Park in Mönchengladbach. It will be the 29-year-old’s first return to his former home ground, where he made enough of a name for himself to prompt Munich to step in for his services last summer.

“Obviously it's very special," said the player two days before his personal trip down memory lane, “I'm really looking forward to seeing many friends and the fans again." Dante was a Borussia regular from January 2009 until June 2012, scoring eight goals in 93 Bundesliga appearances for Gladbach.

Praise from Sammer and Heynckes

However, the Brazilian will set aside all friendships and fond memories for 90 minutes on Saturday afternoon. “We're definitely going there to win and we’ll definitely be up for it," declared the centre-back, the outfield player with the most Bundesliga playing minutes for Bayern this season (2,520). Only keeper Manuel Neuer has managed more (2,700).

“He's emerged as one of our absolutely leading personalities," Matthias Sammer acknowledged a few weeks ago, recognising the Brazilian’s positive development track over time, “he's a fantastic boost to our quality, not only as a player, but also due to everything he is." Jupp Heynckes was equally fulsome in his praise: “He's one of the main reasons we've let in so few goals this season." On Saturday, Dante will again make his contribution as FCB attempt to ensure they break the all-time Bundesliga record for the fewest goals conceded in a season.