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Hitzfeld to ring the changes in Hanover

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Hitzfeld to ring the changes in Hanover

Postby FCBayernNews » Thu Apr 05, 2007 7:25 pm


True to his nickname, Ottmar Hitzfeld looked every inch the 'General' at training on Thursday, observing his troops on the practice ground with his legs wide apart and his hands clasped behind his back. The boss ordered an extra session at midday, casting an expert eye over the players who only filled a secondary role in Milan.

Claudio Pizarro, Andreas Görlitz, Martin Demichelis and seven others worked on a series of crosses and shots at goal, seeking to impress the watching Hitzfeld and perhaps claim a starting berth in Hanover on Saturday. The coach had already announced his intention to rotate his squad for the Bundesliga fixture: "We'll be making three, four or five changes," he confirmed directly after the Milan match.

<b>One sidelined, three doubtful</b>

Hitzfeld often switches things around after key Champions League games, offering a rest to his hard-working regulars and handing the second string a chance to impress, although enforced changes also look on the cards this time around.

Willy Sagnol is facing a four-month lay-off with a serious knee injury, while Hasan Salihamidzic (calf) and Lucio (strain) sat out Thursday's session as a precaution. Owen Hargreaves began the workout but withdrew after a short time as he felt a reaction to a thigh strain sustained while on international duty for England against Andorra last week.

<b>Lell or Görlitz for Sagnol</b>

Given the proximity of next Wednesday's return against AC Milan, Hitzfeld may well opt to rest the trio and turn to his numerous alternatives. Demichelis and Ismael could step in for Lucio, Görlitz, Karimi and Lell are plausible candidates for Salihamidzic' role, and Ottl could again stand in for Hargreaves. Up front, Santa Cruz and/or Pizarro could be handed a start.

Christian Lell and Andreas Görlitz are the prime contenders for Sagnol's regular right-back slot. Lell must be considered the front-runner, as the 22-year-old performed with distinction after replacing Sagnol in northern Italy. "I was very pleased with him. We threw him in at the deep end, but he showed courage and determination," Hitzfeld commented.

<b>Kahn and Van Bommel return</b>

As usual, the Bayern boss declined to reveal his plans in advance. "It's too early," he reasoned. The only definite names on the team-sheet are Mark van Bommel and Oliver Kahn, both suspended in Milan but sure to be restored to the line-up in Hanover. The General will await the outcome of Friday's final training session before assigning the remaining berths.
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