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Club honoured

Reception for FCB at Kuwaiti Royal Palace

“Shukran“ (thank you) and “Ma'a salama” (farewell) Doha! The Bayern party left Qatar on Monday morning for the flight to Kuwait, where the stars were were honoured with a reception at the royal palace of Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. The club world champions play a friendly against Kuwait Sporting Club at 4 pm CET. fcbayern.de presents a timeline of the day.

+++ 07:32 am: Time to say goodbye +++
After eight days in Qatar the Bayern party set off from the Aspire Academy for the airport. The group no longer included Franck Ribéry, Philipp Lahm and Manuel Neuer, who are heading for the FIFA World Player Gala in Zurich. Holger Badstuber returned to Munich on Sunday to continue his sports rehab programme. “I’ve never played in Kuwait before and I’m intrigued to see what it’s like,” observed Daniel van Buyten.

+++ 08:59 am: Takeoff +++
The Lufthansa charter plane set off in a northerly direction for the 75-minute flight from Doha to Kuwait. The mood on board is one of excited anticipation.

+++ 10:27 am: Landing +++
“Marḥaba“ (hello) Kuwait! The Lufthansa Airbus A340-600 landed on time in Kuwait City and the Bayern players and representatives were safely on the ground in a new country. Following a red carpet welcome at the doors of the aircraft, the FCB delegation transferred directly to the Royal Palace.

+++ 11:20 am: Palace +++
In a great honour for the club, Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah joined prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah and the ministerial cabinet in welcoming FCB to Kuwait. “We’re only a small country but we love sport and especially football,” said the Crown Prince in a short speech. “I congratulate you on what you have already achieved and wish you every future success.” Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah was unable to attend and sent apologies.

After the reception the hosts and the Bayern party posed for a photo. Board director for sport Matthias Sammer and vice-captain Bastian Schweinsteiger presented the hosts with gifts, including a silver salver and replica shirts signed by the team. “It was very impressive,” commented Schweinsteiger after the memorable visit to the Palace.

+++ 12:06 pm: Hotel +++
A warm reception awaited the Bayern stars at their hotel too: around 100 fans decked out with banners and large cutout images of last year’s five trophies formed a guard of honour and sang “Super-Bayern! Super-Bayern! Hey! Hey!“

+++ 12:44 pm: press conference +++
Matthias Sammer and Arjen Robben spoke of the “very friendly” welcome to Kuwait. “We’re delighted to be here,” said board director for sport Sammer. Dutch winger Robben commented: “We saw how many fans we have here. It’s always exciting to come and play football in a new country.“ Robben was asked about the training camp in Qatar: “We had a fantastic week there,” he said. As to the evening World Player of the Year event, the Dutchman said “we hope Franck wins.” Sammer answered questions about Pep Guardiola: “The best coach in the world fits well with the best club in the world, regardless of his nationality. You can communicate with feet, hands and eyes.”

+++ 1:15 pm: Buildup to the match +++
The friendly meeting between Bayern and Kuwait Sporting Club at 6 pm local time has been marketed  here as the Big Game. Kuwait SC are domestic champions and holders of the AFC Cup, a competition comparable to the Europa League. Today’s FCB.tv News includes video impressions of a fascinating inaugural trip to Kuwait, with our match report and highlights here at fcbayern.de and FCB.tv coming later in the evening.