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Barcelona beaten, Dortmund up next

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Barcelona beaten, Dortmund up next

Postby FCBayernNews » Thu Jul 25, 2013 4:10 pm

The likes of Mario Mandzukic, Javi Martinez and Daniel van Buyten are quite obviously good in the air, but Philipp Lahm isn't exactly known as an aerial powerhouse. That explains the slightly incredulous expressions on faces around the Allianz Arena during Wednesday evening's Uli Hoeneß Cup victory over Barcelona, when three replays on the video screens gave indisputable confirmation that Lahm, all 1.70 m of him and a full-back by trade, had opened the scoring after 14 minutes with a superb flicked header.

However, Bastian Schweinsteiger insisted he was not surprised: "Philipp is very skilful and was mentally a step ahead of his marker." Lahm himself pointed out that he is not unknown for headed goals in training, "although obviously not as many as Horst Hrubesch," he said, raising a laugh from reporters with his mention of the towering former great.

However, the FCB captain is not about to switch position. Pep Guardiola has regularly fielded him in midfield during pre-season, "but I'm at my strongest when I play right back," Lahm confirmed. Guardiola agrees: "Naturally, Philipp will stay at full-back." Just for now, due to the absence of a handful of the club's regular midfielders, Lahm has lent a very successful helping hand.

Wednesday's result means Bayern retain their perfect record in this summer's warm-up matches, although it must be noted that Barcelona have only just begun preparing for the new campaign and lacked half their senior squad. "It was a good test for the Super Cup against BVB," summarised Guardiola, who described the meeting with his former club as "a special evening for me as a coach and a person."

Schweinsteiger returns

The entertaining encounter provided one or two moments of note, including Bastian Schweinsteiger's first playing minutes of the summer. "I'm still working my way back, but it was nice to get a taste of it again," commented the vice captain, "I hope I'll be fit enough for more very soon." Schweinsteiger is yet to recover full fitness after surgery, in contrast to Franck Ribéry, a sparkling presence in the fast-moving first half.

On Wednesday, Toni Kroos played in the holding role with Thiago higher up the field. "But he needs a little more time," noted Guardiola, "let's not forget he only arrived in Munich a week ago." A similar caveat applied to Dante, who started a game for the first time this summer on Wednesday but clearly lacks match fitness due to his Confederations Cup commitments.

Focus on Dortmund

Guardiola will now continue piecing together the jigsaw that is his preferred line-up, bearing in mind that key individuals such as Martinez and Mario Götze were not even in the midweek matchday squad. Saturday's DFL Super Cup clash in Dortmund provides a genuine test, as the league's in-house trophy counts as an official competitive competition. Lahm is expecting still more from the team: "It's already going a lot better, both in attack and defence."
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