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Big hand for birthday boys

Important step for Renato Sanches

Applause, applause! The Bayern stars began this week’s training programme standing in a circle, first taking in Carlo Ancelotti’s team talk, and then vigorously clapping their hands. The reason was belated birthday congratulations from the playing and coaching staff to Robert Lewandowski, who turned 28 on Sunday, and Renato Sanches, who was 19 last Thursday.

The even better news in the morning was the sight of Sanches completing part of his sports rehab programme out on the field with the squad, before the Portuguese starlet continued his drills on his own. Xabi Alonso spent a little longer with the rest of his team-mates, and Thiago managed the entire session. Arjen Robben, Douglas Costa, Holger Badstuber and Jérôme Boateng continued training individually as they work towards comebacks.