Created on 19-01-2008 at 00:00 AM
Bayern brought down the curtain on their Marbella winter training camp on Saturday with a sense of satisfaction and confidence ahead of the second half of the campaign. After seven days in Andalusia and a total of eleven training sessions, Ottmar Hitzfeld says his team are well prepared for an assault on three trophies in the highly-regarded coach’s last six months at the helm.
“Naturally, my summary is positive,” Hitzfeld declared after the week spent at the Westin La Quinta team base. “Conditions were ideal, and the team was totally focused on the essentials, namely our training programme. I think we’ve worked hard and very successfully,” the 59-year-old told reporters.
All fitness scores improved
Hitzfeld described himself as “very happy“ at the lack of serious injuries during the week in the south of Spain. The “heavy training burden” had caused a stiff limb here and there, but nothing more serious. Apart from Marcell Jansen, set to resume the team programme in two weeks after ankle surgery, the head coach will supervise a full squad in the final week of the mid-season break, before the competitive action resumes in the DFB Cup against Wuppertal in ten days.
The players had worked intensively on their fitness and had come on well physically, amply demonstrated by a series of fitness tests producing results which Hitzfeld said were “very good, better than last summer.“ He and his coaching staff would be building on a “strong foundation” for the remainder of the campaign. “I’m very confident that we’ll be in good physical shape. The job now is to translate that into goals.“
Good food, a bed and a football pitch
Hitzfeld and his assistant Michael Henke also spent plenty of time with the team working on tactics, seeking a return to the sparkling football of the early part of term as the men in red chase honours in the Bundesliga, DFB Cup and UEFA Cup. “The German league title has absolute priority,” Hitzfeld confirmed, “dominating the Bundesliga is a great feeling.“
Hitzfeld praised the decision not to stage any warm-up matches during this year’s camp, ensuring the focus was on fitness and tactics, and reducing the risk of injuries. “You don’t need games to prepare well,” Mark van Bommel agreed, listing the factors which made for a worthwhile training camp: “Good food, a bed and a football pitch, that’s all you need.“
Happy memories of 2001
Bayern now approach the final week of the mid-season break in excellent spirits. “We want to be in good shape for the two friendlies,” commented Hitzfeld, although the General has called a double training session for Monday despite the warm-up match away to Fortuna Düsseldorf the following day. The tempo would not let up until just before Saturday’s meeting with TSV 1860 Munich, “when we’ll have a less intense phase,“ Hitzfeld explained.
The 2008 training camp in Marbella might even prove a lucky omen for the rest of the season. The Bavarians spent the winter of 2001 on the Costa del Sol, before going on to win the Bundesliga and the Champions League. “We’re delighted we came here,” summarised general manager Uli Hoeneß. “And if we end 2007-8 the way we did 2001, it’ll have been an outstanding decision.“