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Bayern close to full strength for Gladbach clash

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Bayern close to full strength for Gladbach clash

Postby FCBayernNews » Thu Nov 30, 2006 7:30 pm

30.11.2006

"What on earth's going on here?" Bayern boss Felix Magath exclaimed as he entered the Säbener Strasse media area following Thursday lunchtime training, to be greeted by a larger than usual throng of press men and photographers awaiting the daily news conference.

One might be surprised at Magath's reaction to finding a decent-sized crowd of people together in one place, as he has become accustomed to an extremely healthy turnout for training over the last few days, in stark contrast to a few weeks ago when the squad was down to the bare bones. With the exception of long-term casualties Valerien Ismaël and Owen Hargreaves, no fewer than 24 players are currently in contention for places in the team.

<b>Podolski resumes training</b>

"I'm delighted I've got nearly all of them back," Magath confirmed. "I'd rather have it this way than the situation we had a few weeks ago." Four weeks have passed since reserves Christian Saba and Stefan Maierhofer practically became fixtures in the first team set-up for lack of alternatives.

However, with the last few crucial matches of the year on the horizon, the seniors are practically back to full strength, as Andreas Görlitz, Sebastian Deisler, Lucio and now Lukas Podolski have one by one recovered fitness. "The coach has alternatives for every position again," Roy Makaay observed.

<b>Sub's role for Deisler</b>

Makaay is odds-on to start Saturday's meeting with Borussia Monchengladbach, but Sebastian Deisler will begin on the bench, despite a match-winning cameo in Hamburg last weekend. Bayern are determined not to rush the 26-year-old as he completes a recovery from another lengthy lay-off, "so we've made it clear to him he won't be in the starting line-up for the time being," Magath declared.

The same applies to Podolski. "He's made a good impression," the coach confirmed following the morning workout, "but he's told me he's not at 100 percent again yet." Magath has not decided whether to name the 21-year-old in his matchday squad, by which time he will have completed three training sessions: "We'll wait and see how it goes."

<b>Lucio to start</b>

Brazil centre-half Lucio, who appeared along with Deisler at half-time in Hamburg, is set to begin the match. "Lucio is a definite starter on Saturday," Magath announced, "but I haven't decided on the rest of the team." The only certainty is that four unlucky players will be forced to take in the action from the stands.
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