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Magath in search of first-choice line-up

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Magath in search of first-choice line-up

Postby FCBayernNews » Fri Jan 12, 2007 9:10 pm


Fitness coach Werner Leuthard again took charge of the squad workout on Friday morning, supervising a series of routines designed to strengthen the players' stomach, back, thigh and upper body muscles. The stars sweated through a gruelling 45-minute session at the Dubai Royal Palace sports facility, but aside from the focus on fitness, Felix Magath has begun feverishly working away on his potential first-choice line-up, aware that only two weeks remain before the Bundesliga action resumes.

The two Dubai Cup matches offered the opportunity to test a variety of midfield formations. "We played with our customary diamond shape against Benfica," the boss remarked, although the Reds lined up with two holding midfielders against Olympique Marseille. "Surprisingly, we looked better going forward than in defence. You'd expect it to be the other way round," he observed.

<b>Thinking in pairs</b>

Magath also surveyed his options up front and at the back in the two friendly matches. At centre-half, Daniel van Buyten and Martin Demichelis started against Lisbon, with the Belgian paired with Lucio against Marseille. The coach announced he would also take a look at Lucio and Demichelis together in an upcoming friendly.

The story was the same in attack, where Roy Makaay and Roque Santa Cruz joined forces for a half against Lisbon, before giving way to Claudio Pizarro and Lukas Podolski. Pizarro partnered Santa Cruz in the first half against Marseille, before Makaay and Podolski took over for the second period. "I'm watching closely. I have to decide which players fit best together," the 53-year-old explained.

<b>Healthy competition</b>

Naturally, the try-outs have had the effect of igniting a battle for places. "I have four strikers, all at approximately the same level. It's going to be a tough choice," Magath reflected. However, the internal competition is undoubtedly healthy, especially in terms of invigorating daily training. The knowledge that places are up for grabs inspires the players to give the final few percent, the coach observed, "and I'm totally satisfied with everyone's commitment."

"The match against Marseille demonstrated the lads' determination to squeeze the last drop out of themselves," captain Oliver Kahn remarked approvingly. Bayern turned a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 winning margin with a furious last seven minutes. "Morale is absolutely fine," declared Kahn - a man whose regular starting berth is not in question.
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