Created on 04-07-2010 at 00:00 AM
Louis van Gaal was a man in a hurry on Sunday. “I have to be at the airport right away, because I’m holding a reading in the Netherlands this afternoon,” the Bayern coach told FCB.tv after training in the morning. It was the last workout in the first phase of the club’s pre-season programme. Van Gaal and his men reconvene eleven days from now when the second phase commences on 15 July.
Ivica Olic and Co have worked and sweated their way through 16 demanding training sessions, many held in blistering summer heat, over the last two weeks. They also contested this year’s “Dream Game” in Nordhorn, beating a side assembled by the local Fan Club 12-0. “I’m very satisfied,” Van Gaal summarised.
However, the 58-year-old also voiced grave concerns for the remainder of the pre-season period. The World Cup has deprived the boss of more than half of his players: on Sunday morning, he supervised just ten of his senior squad. And with Germany and the Netherlands both through to the semi-finals, Philipp Lahm, Mark van Bommel and Co will not report back to the club for pre-season training until 2 August. All the players involved in the World Cup are granted a three-week holiday following their team’s elimination.