Created on 02-01-2012 at 00:00 AM
The holidays are over and the hard work is about to start for real, after the Bayern squad and coaching staff arrived ahead of time in Doha early on Monday evening following a five-hour Lufthansa flight from Munich. The stars enjoyed the last few rays of sunshine in the gathering dusk, before setting off to check in at this year's team hotel, The Grand Heritage.
The FCB party, headed up by director of sport Christian Nerlinger and head coach Jupp Heynckes, gathered at Munich airport on Monday morning for the 9 am departure. Mario Gomez, Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, Luis Gustavo, Rafinha and Takashi Usami were not on board the team plane, as the five players had arranged to travel direct from their Christmas vacation to Qatar, and were waiting to greet their team-mates on arrival.
Heynckes and his men will spend the next eight days in Doha laying the foundations for a successful second half to the season. The first training session of this year's winter camp is set for Monday evening at the ASPIRE Academy for Sports Excellence. Based on last year’s experience, the men from Munich know they can expect top quality conditions. “The weather was perfect and the pitches were outstanding," Philipp Lahm said ahead of the morning departure, “it's a great place to prepare for the rest of the season."
Bastian Schweinsteiger has travelled with the group, but is not yet certain whether he will be cleared to play a full part in the training programme from the start. “I'll have to work my way back into it," said the player, who has missed the last nine matches after breaking a collarbone. “It's vital we put in good work in Doha and lay the foundations," the midfielder continued, “it’s particularly important when you have as many games as we do." The stay in the Emirate is intended as the necessary pre-work for the club’s pursuit of three trophies this term.