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Full of intent

FCB turn focus to South German showdown

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Philipp Lahm and Anatoliy Tymoshchuk led the way, followed almost immediately by Manuel Neuer and Javi Martínez, then Thomas Müller, and then the rest of the squad, as the Bayern stars left the dressing room at half-past three on Tuesday afternoon. After a day and a half off, the players and coaching staff began preparing for Sunday’s clash with South German rivals VfB Stuttgart.

After a squad warm-up, the 21 outfield players practised passing, with the keepers reporting to goalkeeping coach Toni Tapalovic for their position-specific workout. The squad then came together again for a ten-a-side practice match on a reduced size pitch and without goals, an exercise encouraging direct play and skill in confined spaces. There was plenty of communication and the pace was high, as both teams showed enormous determination and drive.

Claudio Pizarro had left the group by this stage. The Peruvian was laid low by flu at the weekend, missing out on the Bundesliga restart victory against Greuther Fürth and the 5-2 win away to Alemannia Aachen in Sunday’s benefit match. Pizza reported to fitness coach Andreas Kornmeyer for an individual workout on an adjacent training pitch.

The action became even more competitive on the main pitch. Boss Jupp Heynckes called for goals to be positioned on the reduced size field, and the teams responded with even more energy and commitment. By the end of the session, the red team led by Philipp Lahm and Franck Ribéry narrowly beat the grey team spearheaded by David Alaba and Mario Mandzukic.