By Shrikant Shankar
Germany's most successful football team, Bayern Munich are in India to play Indian legend Bhaichung Bhutia's testimonial match against the national team at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Tuesday.
Bayern Munich have their full strength team in India including stars like captain Philipp Lahm, vice-captain Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Adressing a jam packed conference, Lahm confirmed that his team was taking the match very seriously and was here to win.
"This is a test for us. The second half of the Bundesliga season start quickly and we want to be in shape and get back to the fitness levels required." Munich captain said.
Bayern have to play Borussia Monchengladbach on January 20 in the Bundesliga and coach Jupp Heynckes feels that it is a great opportunity for all the players to get back into match fitness.
"We are looking forward to learn about the people, culture and about the country. It’s my first visit to India and I'm looking forward to interact and getting to know them. We have come here from Qatar preparing for second leg of Bundesliga. We are looking forward to test the players," Heynckes said.
"We have come to play a serious match. We want to show what a European club is about. We are among the top five sides in Europe,” the 65-year old said in his pre-match conference.
Schweinsteiger was more in a jovial mood. The midfield maestro has just recovered from a shoulder injury but said he was fit to play the match. "As long as Bhaichung does not go for the shoulder, I think I should be fine," he quipped.
Meanwhile, the man of the moment, Bhutia himself was upbeat about the match. "I want to play the whole of the 90 minutes. This is a huge honour to play against one of the best teams in the world," he said.
Lahm later added that they have known about Bhaichung before as he played for Zinedine Zidane's team for a match against poverty in Lisbon in 2010. "We do not know much about Indian football but we know about Bhaichung. We have seen him play before, it should be a good contest on Tuesday," concluded the German captain.
Come Tuesday and all eyes will be on the Indian national team against the best team in Germany. The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium is where India's former captain and leading goal scorer will end his illustrious career leading the country one more time against Bayern Munich.
The match proceeds will go to assist the quake-affected people in Sikkim.