Rode and Thiago poised to return

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Dribbling, shooting, passing and headers were the main elements in the individual workout completed by Sebastian Rode on Tuesday. The midfield dynamo missed the cup tie against Nöttingen with bruising to the foot but informed that he would be fit for the Bundesliga restart fixture on Friday: "I've trained well, and I'll be back with the squad tomorrow." Rode was joined for part of the time by Thiago. The Spaniard missed the Nöttingen clash and the Audi Cup with an upset stomach but is also set to resume the team programme on Wednesday. The rest of the players had Tuesday off.

Bundesliga coaches favour Bayern

Same procedure as every year: every August, FC Bayern approach the new season as overwhelming favourites to win the league title. 16 of the 18 Bundesliga coaches agree, according to an annual survey carried out by news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa). "They have the best squad, a superb coach and are clearly the favourites for the championship," commented Leverkusen coach Roger Schmidt. Only two bosses are not entirely convinced at this stage: Mainz supremo Martin Schmidt reckons there will be a "three-way fight at least at the top of the table" between Bayern, Dortmund and Wolfsburg; and Köln's Peter Stöger thinks "one or two teams could keep the championship race alive for a long time."


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