Created on 22-08-2013 at 14:00 PM
The weather was wonderful, the pitch was perfect, and the setting was first class. Three days prior to the 187th all-Bavaria derby between Bayern and Nürnberg, Germany’s biggest club kept a very special appointment, marking the tenth anniversary of the partnership between FCB and HypoVereinsbank by holding Wednesday morning’s workout at HVB’s Tucherpark sports facility.
An enthusiastic crowd of around 3,000, all of them employees of HypoVereinsbank and their families, ensured there was a real festival atmosphere at the sports ground adjacent to Munich’s famous English Garden. After an official welcome and a team photo, Pep Guardiola took charge of the squad on the perfectly prepared playing surface, as the players trained to a background of cheering and frequent applause.
Martínez resumes squad programme
Guardiola is still without Franck Ribéry, who has been struggling with a minor ankle injury since the away trip to Frankfurt last weekend. The Frenchman remained at the Säbener Strasse, where he completed an individual fitness routine. On the plus side, Javi Martínez resumed the squad programme for the first time since returning from international duty in Ecuador last week. The Spain international completed the session without undue difficulty.
The focus during Wednesday’s workout was match situations, including rapid transitions between defence and attack, swift responses to opposing attacking moves, and build-up play in tightly restricted areas followed by shooting. After the session, Arjen Robben said he was satisfied to see the team making progress every day. “It’s normal that we still have areas for improvement. But we’re already doing certain things really well. It's a development process, and we’re heading in the right direction.“
Götze poised for debut
The team is on track, and so is summer signing Mario Götze, who repeatedly showed flashes of his ability during the workout. “Obviously it’s going to take a little longer before I recover my rhythm and really get back to 100 percent,” explained the 21-year-old. Götze is hopeful of making his competitive debut for his new club in Saturday’s meeting with Bayern’s Bavarian neighbours, and is aiming to have recovered peak form and fitness in “three to four weeks.”
The session formally ended after some 75 minutes, but the work was not over for the stars yet as the crowd foraged for autographs. Manuel Neuer took on selected members of the HVB staff in a penalty contest, and was delighted afterwards when he was presented with a cheque for €5,000 for the Manuel Neuer Kids Foundation.