Tuesday, 11 September 2012 21:31
BERLIN: Former Werder Bremen and Bolton Wanderers striker Ivan Klasnic said Tuesday he is just happy to be back in the Bundesliga with Mainz, preparing to face Bayern Munich -- and playing for more than beer.
The 32-year-old signed for Mainz last week, but was only officially unveiled by his new club following a bout of food poisoning.
His new team face a tough visit to Munich on Saturday in the Bundesliga with Bayern's Spain star Javier Martinez set to make his first start following his 40 million euros ($51.4m) transfer to the Bavarians from Athletic Bilbao.
"I certainly won't play from the start," admitted Klasnic, who is set to come off the bench against Bayern.
"You can't say I am top fit yet, that's clear having missed pre-season training and after the bout of food poisoning.
"I am not some superstar who has arrived in Mainz."
After his Bolton contract expired at the end of the season, Klasnic had been struggling to find a club, but the Croatia international is happy to be back in Germany after seven years with Bremen.
With his young daughter living in Hamburg, Klasnic trained with a regional league team in the Hanseatic City, but admitted life in the lower leagues had not appealed to him.
"I did train in the regional leagues with some friends," he said, before joking: "The club did offer me a contract, but I thought playing for a crate of beer was far too little."
Having undergone a successful kidney transplant in 2007, Klasnic has made 41 appearances for Croatia and scored in their Euro 2008 quarter-final defeat on penalties against Turkey.
He played for German clubs St Pauli from 1997 until 2001, then Werder Bremen from 2001 until 2008 and was part of their team which won the 2004 league and cup double before spending two seasons in the French league with Nantes.
Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2012