Bayern keen to flex their muscles

Bayern keen to flex their muscles

We are here to show what a top European club is all about, says captain Lahm

For Bayern Munich, their visit to India is not limited to discovering the country’s culture and cuisines.

Skipper Philipp Lahm said their priority was football, and they would like to show the Indians what it is to play against a top European club when they meet an Indian selection in an exhibition match at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium on Tuesday.

The premier German club is on its third visit to India but it is the first  time they are fielding their full side here. The team boasts of top international names like Arjen Robben, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Muller and Lahm, many of whom are on their first to India.

Lahm conceded that his team’s knowledge of Indian football was sparse, adding that the only sport they had seen the Indians play was cricket. “We have not followed Indian football much. The only Indian footballer we had heard of was Bhaichung (Bhutia) playing in the World XI,” said Lahm through an interpreter in a press meet. “We would like to test them. We are here to play attractive football and to show what a top European club is all about.”

The team had a training stint in Doha, where they slammed second-tier Qatari outfit SC Al-Sailiya 13-0 during a warm-up game last week.

Though coach Jupp Heynckes refused to predict the scoreline against the Indians, he hoped the country will get better acquainted with Bayern Munich after the match. “We have been looking forward to coming to India and knowing about its culture and people. I hope there will be a good match tomorrow and people will get to know Bayern Munich, “ he said.

“We have come here to prepare for the second stage of Bundesliga. The team is fit and we are looking to test our players.”

Bhutia, who will be playing his farewell match, said he was happily retired and looking forward to the tie. “It is a great honour to play against a team like Bayern. I don’t think I will ever have to return as we have very capable youngsters in the team,” he said.

Good-humoured banter was on view among the players. Asked about his injured shoulder, Schweinsteiger quipped: “ There is no problem with my shoulder as long as Bhaichung does not decide to go after it.”

Bhutia came up with a rejoinder. “If we reach a 0-3 scoreline, then I guess we will target Bastian’s shoulder!”

Bayern are coming to India as a part of the Audi Football Summit and the proceeds from the match will go to the Sikkim earthquake victims.

Bhutia pat for Yuvraj

Bhutia expressed his gratitude towards star cricketer Yuvraj Singh for standing by victims who were affected by earthquake in Sikkim, last year, adds PTI.

“I can’t thank Yuvraj enough for his support in the hour of crisis. After the earthquake, he was one of the first sportspersons who tweeted and pledged his support for the victims who were affected by the tragedy. I spoke to him after that and he has also given a donation,” Bhutia, who was present at a function organised by NGO Khushi Centre for Rehabilitation & Research, said.

To raise funds for the earthquake victims, Yuvraj has given one of his bats, Ashish Nehra gave his India jersey, shooter Ronjan Sodhi has given his shooting jacket while pugilist Vijender Singh gave his boxing gloves.

“I thank all of them for this nice gesture which will help us a lot in making a bit of difference to the families.”

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