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Come in number 20

'Little terrier' Rode ready for the challenge

Bayern new boy Sebastian Rode met up with one of his FCB team-mates the night before his official start at the club. “Thiago invited me round to his house,” Rode revealed on Wednesday before the first pre-season training session. He joined the Spain international on Tuesday to watch Germany hand out a 7-1 drubbing to hosts Brazil in the World Cup semi-final, a result neither of them would have predicted before the big match. “He was as surprised as I was,” admitted Rode who still seemed almost unable to believe the scoreline.

“I think it’s brilliant Thiago invited him round to his house. I’m really pleased. And so is FC Bayern,” said sporting director Matthias Sammer at the official unveiling of the former Eintracht Frankfurt player. The 23-year-old is clearly settling fast to life at FCB. “My first impressions are very positive. I’ve been made to feel very, very welcome. I’m looking forward to meeting up with the new players arriving at the club,” said Rode.

On the road to recovery

After picking up a knee injury back in February the man from Hesse started training on his own a week ago with a view to being ready for the start of the new campaign. “I don’t have any problems now. There was no reaction in the knee,” explained the utility man, who started pre-season training this afternoon alongside former Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski.

And the six-time Germany U-21 international has great plans, even though he admits the move from Frankfurt to Munich had not been “an easy step. But I’m ready for the challenge. Challenges help you grow stronger.” Rode will wear the same number 20 shirt at Bayern as he did at Eintracht Frankfurt: “Superstition plays a slight part. I picked that up in Frankfurt.”

Like Brazzo and Jerry

“That’s exactly the sort of mentality we need here,” declared sporting director Sammer in response to Rode’s attitude, admitting he “expects a lot” from the newcomer. “He’s a little terrier,” vouched Sammer as he expressed his enthusiasm for Rode’s technique, dynamism and tackling ability: “His movement really excites me.” Sammer compared Rode with former Bayern pros Hasan Salihamidzic and Jens Jeremies. “Those are the sort of players a team needs. We’re expecting him to show that terrier-like approach and passion on the training ground every day.”

Rode was keen to return the compliment. Sammer was “always a role model for me,” he said. “I’ve got a shirt of his at home. I try to play with the same grit and determination, and I’m hoping to play as often as possible in the coming campaign.” Rode sees one advantage in his versatility. “I can play in different positions. I don’t mind where so long as I’m on the pitch.”