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'In top-class form'

Martínez closing in on his previous best

Javi Martínez was the last man to leave the Bayern training ground late on Sunday morning. On the day after the 2-0 home win over Hertha BSC, the Spaniard completed light regenerative training, before he and his team-mates set off for the annual round of fan club visits. Javi had a drive of some 120 kilometres ahead of him for his trip to the “De Garchinger von da Alz” fan club, giving him plenty of time to reflect on an eventful week.

For the first time since May 2014 the Spain international completed the full 90 minutes in two consecutive Bundesliga matches, first in last week’s 3-1 victory away to Schalke, and then on Saturday against Hertha. And in both matches  the defensive specialist made vital contributions in attack as the record champions chalked up back-to-back league wins.

A goal and an assist

“Javi has been through an agonising period. He basically missed a whole season with injury, so it’s even better that Javi is back now and also in top-class form,” said chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, impressed with the 27-year-old’s recent displays. Martinez’ long lay-off was caused by a serious knee injury and his sum total of appearances last term came to two, both at the end of the season. By contrast, he has already featured in 12 matches this term, six over the full 90 minutes.

In the Schalke clash he set his side on their way to victory with the crucial second to make the score 2-1, and against Hertha BSC he brilliantly volleyed the assist for Kingsley Coman to wrap it up at 2-0. Pep Guardiola thought Martinez’ performance on Saturday was “very, very good. He played at centre-back, in midfield and on the left today. He has huge character. Regardless of where he plays he always gives it 100 percent.”

Outstanding in the treble triumph

Martínez laid on five shooting chances for his team-mates against Hertha, more than any other player on the field and a new personal best in his time at FC Bayern. The assist for Coman was his first since 30 March 2013 in a 9-2 thrashing of Hamburg 973 days ago, and his goal the previous weekend ended a 917-day drought.

“In the dressing room afterwards, I saw how much good the goal did him, and how important it was to him personally,” said Rummenigge. “Having Javi Martínez back in the team is magnificent,” continued the chairman, recalling the player’s “outstanding form” in the treble-winning 2013 campaign, and “especially in the Wembley final.” Javi is closing in fast on his truly excellent best.

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