Although a major storm "Niklas" is ravaging Germany, Bundesliga clubs have gone about their normal business. League-leaders Bayern Munich still miss several internationals, as the Dortmund clash looms on the horizon.
Even the strong winds couldn't keep Bayern Munich from training. Coach Pep Guardiola was joined by around a dozen or so of his players at Säbener Strasse. However, with the exception of Moroccan Medhi Benatia, none of the others who were called up for international duties were there. The six German internationals, including captain Bastian Schweinsteiger, were missing as well.
The ailing Franck Ribery didn't train with the team in the last public training session before Saturday's clash with Borussia Dortmund. On Monday, the Frenchman announced that he didn't want to rush his comeback from an ankle problem, which leaves the winger unlikely to feature at the weekend.
But continuing his recovery on the training field was Thiago Alcantara who has returned from a long absence and even managed to be included on the bench against Borussia Mönchengladbach despite not participating in team training for the last few weeks.
Borussia Dortmund, the next opponents for the German champions, have been slightly anxious this week following the reports in German magazine Kicker that speculated about the future of captain Mats Hummels.
"I say honestly that I think about my future, which I'm currently thinking about what I can imagine," said Hummels. "I think about it often, that I would like to play abroad."
If the defender really wanted to make the next step, he probably should do that over the next two or three seasons. For several years, Manchester United have been interested in signing the Dortmund player.
Should Borussia Dortmund miss out on European football next season that could be another reason for Hummels to leave after eight years. Generally, that would lead to a greater upheaval and rebuilding job ahead of next season.
Knäbel calls for early training
Meanwhile, despite bad weather in Hamburg, training went ahead for HSV. Interim coach Peter Knäbel cranked up the tempo in preparation for the remaining eight games of the league season. By 8 a.m. he was already competing with his players as they ran through gusts, winds and heavy rain. Later, Hamburg went on the pitch to do some drills, with newly-appointed number two Peter Herrmann who worked with Jupp Heynckes at Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen.
Hamburg, who hope to sign up Thomas Tuchel as the head coach for next season, are still locked in a relegation battle ahead of Saturday's trip to Bayer Leverkusen. A week later, second-placed Wolfsburg face Knäbel's men. "We're definitely in a battle to beat the drop," said club chairman Dietmar Beiersdorfer.
asz / rd (SID, dpa)