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Van Gaal demands full focus and hard work

The confetti has been swept up, the three-litre Paulaner beer glasses put away, and the Marienplatz in Munich has returned to normality. After a festive weekend of gigantic proportions even by Bayern standards, Louis van Gaal and his men have returned to their normal routine. The freshly-crowned champions reported to the sports facility belonging to club partner HVB on Monday morning to focus on two cup final appointments.

“We all want more, and we start our preparations today,” said director of sport Christian Nerlinger. “We’re not satisfied with just the one trophy. We want to win the lot, because you don’t get this chance very often,” a determined Ivica Olic commented. The championship party had been a long and delirious affair, “but once we met up this morning, we didn’t speak much about the last few days.”

Back to business

“We have to stay focused,” captain Mark van Bommel thundered on Saturday. As it is, it does appear that the champions have scented blood and are still hungry. “As of today, it’s back to concentrating and training hard,” promised Olic. Nerlinger has no worries at all in that respect. “We need to shift up through the gears again, and I know that’s what the team will do. They have such a lot of character, so there are no concerns on my part.”

“Louis will tighten the reins again now,” the director of sport added – and on Monday morning, that was exactly what happened. In a series of full-paced sprinting and passing routines, the players sweated out the last remaining traces of the weekend festivities. “It may have looked reasonably relaxed from the touchlines, but it was pretty strenuous out there on the pitch,” reflected Philipp Lahm after a 75-minute workout.

President’s promise

Following a marathon autograph-signing session, the squad returned to the Säbener Strasse for lunch. Van Gaal awarded his men Tuesday off, but will begin the necessary fine-tuning for the DFB Cup final as of Wednesday. The FCB party returns to the capital on Friday in preparation for the meeting with Werder Bremen at the Olympic stadium on Saturday evening.

The Munich party is over, for the time being at least. It could well resume after the cup final, although there is no public celebration planned this coming weekend, even if Bayern do come home with the trophy. However, should Van Gaal and his team succeed in winning the Champions League final a week after that, “Munich will shake to its foundations,” vowed club president Uli Hoeneß.