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Quiet arrival but Lahm's loving it

Arjen Robben's worryingly skinny, Franck Ribery would inspire a slew of 'short' quips and Bastian Schweinsteiger's a lot less imperious than he appears on television. Tomojit Basu reports.

sports Updated: Jan 09, 2012 23:41 IST
Tomojit Basu

Arjen Robben's worryingly skinny, Franck Ribery would inspire a slew of 'short' quips and Bastian Schweinsteiger's a lot less imperious than he appears on television. But it was the quietest of receptions that Bayern Munich arrived to on Monday evening, around 24 hours before they play India at the Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium in Bhaichung Bhutia's farewell international tie.

Defensive midfielder Anatoliy Tymoshchuk became the first of Die Roten's personnel to emerge at the VIP exit of the Indira Gandhi International Airport, a nook on the side of lavish Terminal 3. The security, tight as expected, formed protective rings around the subsequent players who had arrived on a special Lufthansa A330 chartered plane from Doha. Benignly capturing the faces that make millions cheer, 'who is he?" appeared to be the most repeated query among those who watched them go by.

With captain Philipp Lahm and vice-captain Bastian Schweinsteiger being packed off within seconds in an Audi A6s along with coach Jupp Heynckes to address the media, the rest of the squad and a seemingly irate Ribery were shunted citywards in a bus.

Expectedly enough, the traffic gods ensured a torrid time although it gave youngsters David Alaba, Breno Borges and Toni Kroos a chance to whip out the iPhones and take a few snaps of Lutyens' work. The beggars swarmed and puzzled passers-by stopped to figure out why a Volvo bus required police escorts. As they finally made it to the team hotel, those in business suits and their hangers-on closed in and took turns to preserve the brief meeting with Robben and gang for posterity.

"We wish the trip could have been longer but we are here for football. One does get first impressions of a country at the airport and in the drive to the city," said Lahm whose team leaves for Munich immediately after Tuesday's game. Asked what those impressions were, Lahm said: "It's been a very, very warm welcome."

Heynckes said he would love to see what India is all about. He has a little over one day to do that.