Van Bommel named Bayern captain

Dutch international Mark van Bommel has been handed the captain's armband by Bayern Munich coach Jurgen Klinsmann, the German club said on Friday.

Speaking one week before the start of the new Bundesliga season, Klinsmann said: "Mark van Bommel is predestined for the role. Since training resumed at the end of June, I have been able to assess the excellent way in which he leads the team, to the point that he enjoys considerable respect from all the players, from the youngsters to the older ones."

The 31-year-old midfielder takes over the captaincy from Oliver Kahn who retired at the end of last season when Bayern Munich won the Bundesliga championship as well as the German Cup.  Bayern's French international Willy Sagnol had hopes of inheriting the captaincy but he is currently absent from the field, making what is expected to be a lengthy recovery from an operation this week to his Achilles tendon.

Van Bommel arrived at Munich from Barcelona in 2006 and quickly became a permanent member of the team. Between 1999 and 2005 he was at PSV Eindhoven.

The Dutchman is fluent in four languages: Dutch, German, English and Spanish - an asset in Bayern's multinational squad. He is the first non-German to wear the captain's armband at the club.