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Hard work as cure for current woes

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Hard work as cure for current woes

Postby FCBayernNews » Tue Apr 24, 2007 6:45 pm


Following the soul-searching of the last couple of days, the Säbener Straße became a place of celebration on Tuesday as Mark van Bommel, who turned 30 on Sunday, invited the playing and coaching staff to observe the milestone with a hearty Bavarian breakfast of <i>Weisswurst</i> sausage and pretzels following the morning workout.

The atmosphere was upbeat but hardly joyful, as a sense of regret still permeates the club in the aftermath of Saturday’s 2-0 defeat in Stuttgart, and the near-certainty that Germany’s most successful club will miss out on next season’s Champions League. The almost unimaginable prospect of Europe’s elite club competition taking place without the 2001 winners is close to becoming a reality, as the men from Munich lie five points off third-placed Stuttgart with just four matches remaining, and have a significantly worse goal difference to boot.

<b>Below expectations</b>

“At Bayern, we consider ourselves winners, so we can’t be happy after a season without a trophy, and potentially missing out on the Champions League too,” Philipp Lahm admitted to Bavarian TV on Monday evening.

However, Ottmar Hitzfeld has not entirely given up hope of finishing third. “We want to win our last four matches, so we can move in if Stuttgart slip up,” the Bayern coach announced on Sunday. The General explicitly warned his players not to give up the fight too early: “I won’t tolerate that. I’ll intervene at once.”

<b>Hitzfeld’s command and control</b>

That was certainly obvious on Tuesday, as the head coach repeatedly stopped the training session to hand out criticism, guidance – and encouragement too. Hitzfeld focused on communication between the players in the back four, but also worked his strikers hard in the arts of resolve and finishing.

Two big-name stars were missing from the first workout of the week. Lukas Podolski warmed up but was restricted to light jogging before reporting to the medical unit for intensive treatment on a calf problem, while birthday boy Van Bommel sat out the session with a stretched ligament in his foot.

<b>Break for Van Bommel, Van Buyten and Poldi</b>

“The medical unit advised us to excuse them from training for a couple of days,” assistant coach Michael Henke reported. However, neither is considered doubtful for Saturday’s home meeting with relegation-threatened Hamburg, as the pair are expected to train normally on Thursday.

Daniel van Buyten was absent in the afternoon with a hamstring problem, but Henke said the Belgian stopper was rested purely as a precaution. There was nothing new to report regarding Bastian Schweinsteiger on Tuesday. The Germany international reported for further treatment on his swollen knee, the root cause of which remains a mystery.
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