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Fitness and tactics

‘We’re on the right track’

Ten players reported back on 30 June, seven on 17 July, and six in the intervening period – that was what Jürgen Klinsmann meant when he spoke of a “bumpy pre-season“. Miroslav Klose agreed: “In terms of stamina we’re at maybe 80, 90 percent,” the striker declared on Wednesday, two days ahead of the Bundesliga restart at home to Hamburg. The hitman was one of the last group to resume training after the summer break. “We’ll continue to pick up freshness and fitness by playing.“

The latecomers still have some way to go before achieving peak fitness, but all are making rapid progress. The same applies to the process of implementing Klinsmann’s footballing philosophy. “Fine-tuning the way the different parts of the team fit together will improve week by week,” the head coach commented. “We’ve come a long way but it’s not perfect yet,“ Klose felt.

Bayern gave a laboured display in the Cup away to Erfurt last Sunday, but the match certainly highlighted areas for improvement. “The players were very critical of themselves. They know they made a lot of mistakes,” Klinsmann revealed, “none of the areas of the team functioned well in Erfurt.“

The biggest deficiencies were in the team’s collective defending, prompting Klinsmann to spend the last few days working hard on organisation and the roles of the players in different positions. “We must take on board the fact that we do everything as a unit,” argued Klose. “Defensive work begins with the strikers,“ Klinsmann confirmed.

Movement has been another key topic. “We failed to produce any decent runs against Erfurt. We were much too slow switching from defence to attack and vice versa,” commented Klose. “When we’re in possession, the vital thing is for people to push up in support. After winning possession, we have to get forward immediately, supported by two or three men.” The players fully expect all these aspects to show improvement when Hamburg come to visit. Klose for one is convinced: “We’re on the right track.“