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Internationals return

Neuer: Every game is like a final

Philipp Lahm was grinning from ear to ear, a laughing Sebastian Rode vaulted over the active sprinkler heads - and Thomas Müller was simply Thomas Müller. On Thursday the Bavarians began preparing for the final phase of the season with focus, but also a healthy dose of excitement. The German record champions face at least three weeks including midweek games, and it is going to get more and more exciting.

“Every game is almost like a final for us,” commented Manuel Neuer, who returned to his place between the sticks after shaking off a stomach upset. “We have a narrow lead, so we have to take every game seriously.” Joshua Kimmich was also able to work out again. The youngster could not represent Germany at the U-21 level due to muscular problems, but should be fit for Saturday's match against Eintracht Frankfurt at 15.30 CET.

Individual sessions for trio

The other Bayern stars have returned from international duty without major knocks. Thiago and Robert Lewandowski had already resumed the squad programme, while Müller and Mario Götze joined them on Thursday. Douglas Costa, Kingsley Coman and David Alaba reported for individual sessions, with Arturo Vidal set to return in the afternoon. Mehdi Benatia sustained muscular problems in Morocco, but managed a few gentle laps of the facility in Munich. Apart from long-term absentees Holger Badstuber and Jérôme Boateng, only Arjen Robben missed out with a groin problem.