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Applause for Shaqiri

Batteries recharged for final week

The Weissbier glasses have been washed and put away, and practically every trace of the weekend title party has been cleared from Marienplatz and the streets of Munich. In the same vein it was back to business as usual for the Bayern stars on Monday afternoon when they turned their full focus to the last match of the domestic season, Saturday’s DFB Cup final in Berlin.

“We really went for it at the party,” reflected Manuel Neuer after enjoying a day and a half off, “but we know we still have an important job to do.” The players have used the free time to recharge their batteries ahead of the showdown in the German capital. “It should be a great game,” said the Bayern keeper, who recently extended his stay in Munich until 2019, “we’re looking forward to it.”

The players were delighted to be rejoined by a couple of familiar faces on Monday, as Thiago and Xherdan Shaqiri resumed the full training programme. “I’m top fit for the match,” announced the Swiss starlet, who received a ‘welcome back’ round of applause from his team-mates. Thiago was among the subs for the weekend meeting with VfB Stuttgart and could well make a comeback in Berlin after recovering from ligament damage. Mario Götze, who missed out on Saturday with a hamstring problem, and Holger Badstuber came through the Monday session unscathed.

Details will be decisive

As for the injured stars, Bastian Schweinsteiger has an inflamed patella and worked out in the performance centre, but Philipp Lahm (thigh) and Franck Ribéry (back) completed an outdoor session supervised by fitness specialist Andreas Kornmeyer. “I’m in much, much better shape,” advised Ribéry, “I hope I’ll be training with the team on Tuesday or Wednesday and that I’ll be able to travel to Berlin.“

The club world champions have very happy memories of the capital. “We won the cup there last year, and sealed the league title there at the end of March,” recalled Neuer. The 28-year-old enjoyed the after-match party in Berlin on that occasion, “and we’d like that again on Saturday.“ The keeper knows it is a very tough challenge, especially as the game features the teams “who’ve always been there or thereabouts when trophies were there to be won over the last few years. It’ll come down to the small details.”

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