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Back from injury

Alaba fit again – and up for it

FC Bayern have only been in China for two days, but David Alaba can already speak Chinese! OK, so the Austrian only uttered a couple of words at the press conference in Beijing a few hours before the first friendly against FC Valencia but that was impressive nevertheless: Ni hao ma (how are you) and Xiexie (thank you). “That’s all I can say unfortunately,” the Austrian declared with a cheeky grin.

The mood in the Bayern camp is definitely positive. The hospitality of the people in Beijing is infectious. Of course, tours like this this can be tiring, Alaba said, “but it’s great to get to know a new country. And when you feel the support of the fans you really enjoy it and want to give something back.”

Alaba can afford to smile again after his knee injury at the end of last season. Preseason has not brought any setbacks as yet and the 23-year-old has completed every training session. “I’m glad that’s behind me now,” said Alaba. In spite of the injury he has tried to keep calm and work hard in training. “I wanted to get back as quickly as possible. Now I’m looking forward to the new season.”

FC Bayern will again be focused on winning titles next term. Alaba sees VfL Wolfsburg and Borussia Dortmund as the main rivals. “I think they’ll want to show they’re back to their best. But we will do all we can to make sure we finish top again.”

It remains to be seen when Franck Ribéry, currently still in Munich, will join in with the mission to defend FCB’s title. His ankle injury has been an ongoing problem. “It all takes time,” as his team-mate Alaba knows only too well. Ribéry has told him he is getting “better day-by-day. I’m not worried because he’s mentally strong.” Ribéry would definitely have felt at home in China.