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Fit-again Altintop aims for starting berth

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Fit-again Altintop aims for starting berth

Postby FCBayernNews » Tue Jan 06, 2009 8:15 pm

Hamit Altintop was never likely to be deterred by a three-man wall, including the not inconsiderable frame of Martin Demichelis, barring his path, splashing water in his face and finally resorting to rough tactics. Altintop simply kept his cool, took aim, and scored from five metres out. Hamit rejoiced, and his team-mates were suitably impressed.

The scene took place during a game of water polo on Tuesday morning in the pool at the team hotel in Dubai. Jürgen Klinsmann and his men have been in the emirate since Saturday on their winter training camp - and Hamit Altintop is once again a full member of the squad. "I'm feeling good, I'm fit, and I'm looking forward to the first friendlies," the 26-year-old declared.

Altintop has been at Bayern for eighteen months, but he effectively rates as a new face for coach Klinsmann. The Turkey international managed a game apiece in the Cup and the Bundesliga at the start of the season, but was subsequently forced into months on the sidelines after a second operation on a metatarsal he originally fractured back in the spring.

Back in late August, Hamit duly started out on the long and tiresome road to recovery. "It wasn't a great time, but it had to be gone through," he said. The reward was a brief comeback as a sub in the last two matches before Christmas.

The midfielder is now fighting fit and keen to stake his claim for a place in the starting line-up. "I set very ambitious goals for myself. I want to be part of the first eleven, I want to play well, and I really want us to win the league," said the Turkey star, who also has high hopes for Bayern's European adventure. "This team has the potential to go a long way in the Champions League."

Altintop's battling qualities could be a trump card for Bayern in the second half of the campaign. "He's one of our most important players," said general manager Uli Hoeneß. "He's not really in the limelight, but he's vital to the team in terms of determination, commitment and desire. He has amazing stamina and gives everything for the cause. He's exactly the kind of player you need when you're chasing three trophies."

Unselfish team player

"I'm delighted he's back," Hoeneß concluded, a sentiment echoed by Jürgen Klinsmann. "His return is very positive. We've missed him as a team player," the head coach agreed, "he's the kind of guy who holds it all together, a member of the group who's always playing the provider." Hamit was also blessed with "unbelievable energy" and "immense versatility".

"I'm very single-minded and always give everything," the highly-praised player said of himself. As if proof were needed, Klinsmann and Hoeneß only had to keep an eye on Tuesday's water polo antics in the hotel pool.
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