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Rump squad turns focus to Schalke clash

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Rump squad turns focus to Schalke clash

Postby FCBayernNews » Mon Mar 26, 2007 6:45 pm

26.03.2007

The biggest Bundesliga fixture of the coming weekend sees leaders Schalke travel to Munich for a crunch clash with Bayern at the Allianz Arena, but the Bavarians' Säbener Strasse training ground was an eerily quiet place on Monday, with two-thirds of the 24-strong first-team squad and head coach Ottmar Hitzfeld still absent.

The first of seven workouts ahead of Saturday's league showdown featured Roy Makaay, Mark van Bommel, Hasan Salihamidzic, Claudio Pizarro and Martin Demichelis, together with goalkeepers Oliver Kahn, Michael Rensing and Bernd Dreher. International duty and rest days accounted for the remainder of the squad.

<b>Two days off for all</b>

The 100 or so diehards who gathered to observe the session searched in vain for Bastian Schweinsteiger, Lukas Podolski and Philipp Lahm. The Germany trio, excused duty by national coach Joachim Löw for a friendly on Wednesday against Denmark following the Germans' 2-1 Euro 2008 qualifying victory over the Czech Republic on Saturday, were given Monday off by the club.

The same applied to Belgium skipper Daniel van Buyten, also released early by his national coach, and to Valérien Ismael, Andreas Görlitz, Christian Lell and Andreas Ottl, who appeared for the Bayern reserves in the third division south on Saturday. The stars with no playing commitments had all been given a full weekend off, "and we wanted everyone to have two free days," assistant coach Michael Henke explained.

<b>Scholl doubtful for Schalke</b>

A further eight players will rejoin the squad on Tuesday, along with boss Hitzfeld, who was away from Munich on Monday fulfilling an engagement he had already confirmed before retaking the Bayern helm in February. The final absentee was Mehmet Scholl, still struggling with the after-effects of having a wisdom tooth removed last week. "He's hoping to be OK by Wednesday, but it'll be a close-run thing for Saturday," Henke observed.

The assistant coach put the eight-strong party through a series of sprints and stamina-building runs on Monday, where another prominent absentee joined the head coach and the 16 missing players, namely the ball.
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