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Rummenigge delayed

Upbeat FCB set off for USA

USA, here we come! The Audi Summer Tour USA 2014 officially got underway on Wednesday. The nine-day trip initially takes FCB to New York and then Portland/Oregon, and incorporates training sessions, two friendly matches and numerous marketing and media appointments. However, when the party gathered at Munich airport, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was a prominent absentee.

The chairman fell victim to worldwide technical issues affecting the USA. His visa was approved, but cannot be physically issued at the moment. “It’s obviously a real shame,” commented Matthias Sammer, “but we can’t change it now. I hope he might be able to join us later.” Apart from Rummenigge, other members of the party were also affected in the same way including a number of reporters, an camera team, and six Bayern U-16 players, who were on their way to a training camp in Portland.

The new Bundesliga season is now only three weeks away, and preparing for it is the main focus for Pep Guardiola and his team, Sammer emphasised. However, it would be necessary to balance the demands of training and the marketing dimension to the tour. “Bayern Munich is first and foremost a football club, but we can’t simply ignore the commercial side. We have to be smart about covering both aspects.”

The FCB sporting director said there were three objectives for the tour: “To prepare well in footballing terms, to come home fit and well, and to leave behind an appealing and professional impression which can be maintained over the long term. If we manage that, we’ll be happy.”

‘A great experience’

The touring party comprises 170 people in all. They are scheduled to land in New York on Wednesday afternoon local time. Guardiola currently has a total of 14 of his first team players with him. The six German World Cup winners plus semi-finalists Arjen Robben and Dante will join the group on 6 August in Portland. Thiago and Mitchell Weiser have remained in Munich to continue working on rehab programmes. Six FCB II reserves and three U-19 players are boosting the squad numbers for the USA tour.

“I think it’ll be a great experience for all of us,” enthused David Alaba. Bayern’s US starlet Julian Green said: “Bayern have a great reputation in the USA. Everyone loves Bayern, and everyone’s pleased we’re coming.” Xherdan Shaqiri is expecting “a lot of fun,” but also “very hard work” over the next nine days. The Bayern party took off from Munich at around 11 am on Wednesday morning – and the next stop is New York!