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News in brief

Shaqiri back up and running

Exactly five weeks after rupturing a muscle bundle in his right thigh, Xherdan Shaqiri has returned to the training ground. On Friday morning the Swiss international reported to sports rehab coach Thomas Wilhelmi for an initial 20-minute jog around the Säbener Strasse facility. Shaqiri picked up the injury while representing his country in mid-October.

Much activity on official day off

There was no official training session on Friday, but three more FCB stars were hard at work anyway. Thiago, who resumed the team programme on Tuesday after recovering from an ankle injury, continued to build up to full fitness in a session supervised by fitness coach Andreas Kornmayer. In the performance center, Claudio Pizarro was busy with his own sports rehab programme. Three weeks after tearing a thigh muscle, the Peruvian was able to take to the ergometer for the first time. And Diego Contento, who sat out last Saturday’s Augsburg clash due to what Pep Guardiola described as “problems with his legs“, worked out in the rehabilitation area.

Martínez doubtful for Spain

Javi Martínez sustained a blow to the knee while training with the Spanish national squad on Thursday evening and broke off the session as a precaution, Spanish media reported on Friday morning. Martínez still joined the Spain party on the flight to Equatorial Guinea, where the world and European champions are in friendly international action on Saturday in capital city Malabo. “We hope the problem doesn’t prevent Javi Martínez from playing,” national coach Vicente Del Bosque commented at a press conference on arrival in the African nation.

Belgien lose in absence of Van Buyten

Thirteen Bayern stars are on duty with their national teams this week. The first of them due a game was Daniel van Buyten, but the defender has succumbed to the flu and missed Belgium’s 2-0 defeat to Colombia on Thursday evening. In the friendly at King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels, Radamel Falcao (51) of Monaco and Victor Ibarbo (66) of Cagliari Calcio sealed Belgium’s first defeat of the calendar year. Van Buyten is now hoping to be fit for the Red Devils’ meeting with Japan on the same ground this coming Tuesday.