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Telekom Cup triumph

Fine early form but ‘a lot still to do'

Franck Ribéry was certainly in a good mood at the weekend. His eyes lit up when he was asked about his new look with his shaggy beard. “My wife insists on it. I want to shave but she wants me to keep the beard. The argument continues,” he declared in explaining his new summer acquisition. Bayern’s Frenchman has returned after his back injury and missing the World Cup with renewed enthusiasm. In his role as captain on Sunday Ribéry lifted the first trophy of the new campaign when FCB secured a 3-0 win against VfL Wolfsburg in the Telekom Cup final.

“I’m fit again and I can play. That’s the important part,” said the 31-year-old who was on form over the two days in Hamburg. The lively Ribéry netted a wonder strike against Gladbach on Saturday and provided an exemplary assist for the crucial opening goal on Sunday. “I’m up for it but I’m not quite on top of my game. I need to be explosive and quick when I play,” explained Ribéry with four weeks to go till the Bundesliga restarts.

There is still a lot of work to do in the pre-season - including for Ribéry. But the link play with Robert Lewandowski is already working surprisingly well as was evident in the Telekom Cup. “He’s a great striker,” said Ribéry in praise of his new fellow goal-getter. This weekend’s three goals will definitely be good for Lewandowski’s confidence. “He’s doing really well although people expect a huge amount from him,” added Ribéry.

Lewandowski 'not yet on top form'

Matthias Sammer believes the brilliant performance of the Pole at the Telekom Cup is the logical result of the past few weeks. “Robert has trained well from the beginning. We all know what he can do,” declared the FCB sporting director. Lewandowski remains modest. The start at Bayern has gone “very well” so far and he said he has got on brilliantly with his team-mates “from the first day. It’s getting better and better with every training session and friendly match.”

Lewandowski’s goals at the weekend were all impressive. His world-class lob for the opening goal against Gladbach on Saturday was particularly memorable and almost impossible to top. The striker did say he is not yet on peak form by a long way. “I still need a bit of time but there’s a fair way to go before our first official match.”

Bayern take on Borussia Dortmund in the Super Cup in two and a half weeks just before the DFB Cup first round tie in Münster. The Reds fly off to the USA on Wednesday for a nine-day tour. The visit to the States will include numerous PR events and a lot of hard work, with all the World Cup stars joining the squad over the course of the tour. “We’re setting off with the Telekom Cup win under our belts and we’re confident,” said Sammer, “but there’s no reason to take anything for granted. There’s a lot still to do.”