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No let up

FCB using break for intensive training

Michael Henke described the final training session of the week as "just a little mega-workout," but the two-hour period on Saturday morning will not have displeased the players, as it featured passing, sprints, shooting and a long practice match to round things off, all exercises which made use of the ball. Zé Roberto also joined the squad for the first time this week after shaking off a calf problem, leaving Henke a happy man at the end of a productive week.

"We've worked very hard," commented the Bayern assistant coach, after taking charge of the squad since Thursday in the absence of Ottmar Hitzfeld at a seminar. International call-ups and players sent to appear for the reserves had left a "squad" of just four or five outfield players at times, but the group had done extremely well in the circumstances. "We wanted to make the best possible use of the break, whether we had two players here or ten," Henke told

Going to the limit

Regeneration was the focus at the beginning of the week, as a programme of seven matches in the previous 21 days had taken its toll, Henke reported. However, it had been possible to raise the tempo and intensity fairly soon afterwards. "That says a lot for the lads' excellent physical condition," Henke averred. The remainder of the week had centred on work in the weights room, and stamina and sprint exercises.

The sessions had been interspersed with rigorous performance assessments. "It's more difficult to carry them out during a packed match schedule," explained Henke, "but at the moment we can increase the burden on the lads and push them to the limit. It gives us an overview of the current physical capacities of each individual.“ The players have certainly earned two days off on Sunday and Monday.

Training with the reserves

Training resumes on Tuesday with the focus on fitness, together with tailored tactical schooling. The first batch of internationals are due back on Thursday, when the daily workouts will be used to prepare for the forthcoming Bundesliga meeting with Wolfsburg.

That will allow a number of reserve players who stepped in to make up the numbers during the international break to return to their regular coach Hermann Gerland. On Saturday, nine of Gerland's charges helped out with the seniors, an advantageous situation for everyone, Henke believes. "It enabled us to work on tactics during practice matches, and allowed a few of our youngsters a glimpse of life among the professionals. Playing alongside the Van Bommels and Zé Robertos can only help them.“ Everyone at the club has clearly benefited from the first week of the break for internationals.