Thursday, January 13, 2011

Raphael Honigstein in Germany

Things really couldn't have gone more swimmingly for Bayern Munich during its winter training camp in Qatar. Long-term absentee Arjen Robben was back on the pitch, moving freely and feeling good. Franck Ribéry, another worry in recent months, was as sharp as he has been since getting injured in Euro 2008. New addition Luiz Gustavo, who will most likely start as a left back, added quality to the squad, and the central midfield pairing of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mark van Bommel was reunited.

Despite all the harmony, Louis van Gaal seemed intent on causing a giant storm in the desert before the flight home. On Friday, out of the blue, he decided that substitute keeper Thomas Kraft, 22, will take over the No.1 spot from veteran Hans-Jörg Butt, 36, immediately. To say that the Bayern hierarchy was shocked by this decision would be a serious understatement.

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