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'Top-class conditions'

Club world champions resume training

The stars hardly eased back into their normal routine on the first day back at work after a well-deserved holiday break. Pep Guardiola, Philipp Lahm, Franck Ribéry and Co gathered at around 8 am at Munich airport before the five hour 15 minute flight to Qatar. The time spent in the air was a chance to catch up on a wide variety of destinations and activities during the holidays or take a nap, but after landing in a pleasantly warm Doha and the bus transfer to the team hotel, work began in earnest. At 6:30 pm local time, Guardiola summoned his team to open the Volkswagen Camp Qatar with the first training session of the New Year.

“The conditions are top class,” commented board director for sport Matthias Sammer prior to the 75 minute workout, structured to ease the players back into physical shape and shake off the effects of the relatively long flight. Bastian Schweinsteiger took the opportunity to join sports rehab specialist Thomas Wilhelmi for a few laps of jogging around the Aspire Academy grounds.

Arjen Robben has been pursuing an individual training programme throughout the holidays and continued his exercises with physiotherapist Fredi Binder. Holger Badstuber spent his session on Sunday working away on the exercise bike and aquajogging.

Squad reunited in Doha

The squad finally came together as a complete unit in Doha rather than Munich. Dante, Rafinha and Claudio Pizarro travelled to Qatar on Saturday from vacation in South America, with Robben also arriving direct from his Christmas break. They were joined in the Emirate on Sunday morning by Jérôme Boateng, Tom Starke and Xherdan Shaqiri.

Talk in the dressing room will doubtless have included a chat about the holidays, but the demanding schedule in Doha is the focus for the next nine days.