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Boss opts for rotation as year end nears

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Boss opts for rotation as year end nears

Postby FCBayernNews » Fri Dec 09, 2011 10:50 am

Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes has never made a secret of his fondness for squad rotation: he has only fielded an unchanged team in consecutive matches twice this season, in the clashes with Hoffenheim and Hertha, and the meetings with Mainz and Bremen. Otherwise, the coach has always made at least one change, handing match practice to his squad players, and resting key individuals.

Heynckes made no fewer than six changes to the team which went on to thrash second division Ingolstadt 6-0 in the cup at the end of October. The 66-year-old went a step further for Wednesday evening's Champions League group fixture away to Manchester City, with fully seven new faces in the side compared to the weekend Bundesliga meeting with Bremen. However, Heynckes' hand was forced in midweek, as an outbreak of flu in the dressing room severely limited his options.

"With so many players ill, I was forced to field a team which has never played together before," the coach explained afterwards. Arjen Robben and Toni Kroos didn't even make the trip to the north-west of England, Mario Gomez and Thomas Müller were both benched with flu symptoms, and Daniel van Buyten was laid low by a stomach upset.

Manuel Neuer, Philipp Lahm and Franck Ribéry were all rested in advance of Sunday's league fixture. "It's important we put out a team capable of winning in Stuttgart," the head coach stated. Director of sport Christian Nerlinger expressed approval: "The fans are expecting us to win away to Stuttgart on Sunday."

Selection problems easing

Naturally, the boss's dilemma was less critical than it might have been, due to FCB already winning the group before Wednesday's clash. "If we'd needed a result, I'd obviously have picked the likes of Ribéry, Neuer and Lahm," Heynckes confirmed, describing an appearance in the prestige meeting with the Premier League leaders as "a reward" for a handful of players with only a few outings this term.

On the day after the match, the selection situation at the club had already begun to ease. Neuer, Lahm and company trained on Thursday morning at Manchester United's Carrington facility, while Robben, Kroos, Breno and Bastien Schweinsteiger worked out at the home Säbener Strasse base with eight members of the reserves, supervised by Andries Jonker. Heynckes should have far more options by Sunday - and will probably practise his favoured rotation again.
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