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'It won’t be easy'

Alonso and Robben in team training

After a day without scheduled training the FC Bayern stars reported back to headquarters on Thursday and turned their full attention to the weekend clash with Stuttgart. However, there were a couple of trophies to present before the group gathered on the practice ground in the afternoon. Manuel Neuer and Robert Lewandowski each received a ‘Golden k’ award from renowned sports journal kicker as the most popular keeper and striker of last season.

And two days ahead of the south German showdown at home to VfB, there was more good news for FCB fans with the return to team training of Arjen Robben and Xabi Alonso. In fact it was a very first squad workout at the Säbener Strasse for Alonso since he moved to Munich at the end of August. Like Robben the Spaniard has been hampered by a foot injury.

Thursday’s session was intense and demanding as the players geared up for Saturday’s Bundesliga clash. “We know it’s never easy against Stuttgart,” Neuer reminded, “we’ve often made heavy weather of it against them.”

FCB have won their last three meetings with the men from Swabia, but only by a single goal on all three occasions. Philipp Lahm and Co are keen to add another three points to their tally this Saturday as they look to kick off a punishing schedule of seven games in 22 days on a high.