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Brunch and bonding

New FCB squad fast growing into a unit

Edson Braafheid picked up some useful shopping tips, Anatoliy Tymoshchuk received a warm welcome on his arrival at the airport, and the wives and girlfriends got to know the coaches, players and the board at a shared brunch. A week into pre-season, Bayern’s fitness and tactical preparations have been more than matched by efforts to help the new players settle in.

Braafheid, Tymoshchuk, Mario Gomez, Ivica Olic, Danijel Pranjic and Alexander Baumjohann are all new this term, along with Andreas Görlitz, back from a loan spell at Karlsruhe. “We have a lot of new players to integrate,” fellow newcomer Louis van Gaal noted at his unveiling, explaining why the process was so important: “Like us, Barcelona have good players, but they work as a team, and that’s the reason they succeed.”

Models of helpfulness

The goal is to grow into a solid unit, and Mark van Bommel feels the team spirit is there to provide a firm foundation. “The mood is always good here, on the field and in the dressing room,” reported last season’s club captain, who feels the newcomers face few problems settling in: “It’s easy to come in here as a new guy. We have a good team and everyone’s ready to help.”