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Squad of 27

Bayern party sets off for training camp

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The 13-day holiday break is over and the hard grind in training starts again as of now: the FCB stars boarded their Lufthansa charter on Sunday morning for the flight to the Volkswagen Camp Qatar in Doha, where coach Pep Guardiola and his men will lay the foundations for the second half of the season. The first training session of the new year takes place at Aspire Academy in the evening. “We have to work meticulously, maintaining our concentration and focus,” Matthias Sammer declared prior to takeoff.

The board director for sport reminded reporters that six of the club’s first eight games in 2014 are away from home, “so we’re well aware of what’s in store.” A total of 27 Bayern players will be present in the Emirate in the Middle East, including Bastian Schweinsteiger and Arjen Robben, who were sidelined with injury for the run-in to Christmas.

Schweinsteiger is in excellent shape following ankle surgery last November, reported Sammer: “I’m hoping it’ll be quick. After two or three days he might be able to manage parts of the squad sessions.” The situation is less clear-cut regarding Robben, currently recovering from a deep cut to the knee. “We’ll take a very good look at how well he copes with the training load,” remarked Sammer, “but we can definitely say this: given the extent of the injury, his recovery is optimal.”

Badstuber and three youngsters on board

Holger Badstuber has also travelled with the rest of the squad. The 24-year-old will make the most of the perfect training conditions to continue his sports rehab following cruciate surgery. As in previous years a handful of aspiring youngsters from the reserves will train with the seniors: Julian Green was already brought into the first-team squad before Christmas, and he is joined in Doha by Austrian duo Alessandro Schöpf and Ylli Sallahi.

Robben and six other players were not on board the plane that took off from Munich shortly after 9 am for the five and a half hour flight. The seven men in question had already arranged with the club to travel direct to the training camp from vacation, saving an unnecessary round-trip via Munich. A total of 40 German media representatives and around 20 local journalists are expected to report daily on the Champions League winners’ winter preparations.

The schedule for the stay in Qatar includes two friendly matches. FCB face Sudanese champions Al-Merrikh SC at 8 pm local time (6 pm CET) on 9 January in Doha. On their way back to Germany, Bayern will call in on Kuwait for a friendly against national champions Kuwait SC at 6 pm local time (4 pm CET) on 13 January.