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Training in New Jersey

Guardiola: We’ll put on a show for the fans

Robert Lewandowski, Franck Ribéry and Co aren’t used to training at midnight, but that was the time their body clocks will have been telling them when they stepped out onto the turf at the Red Bull Arena in New Jersey in the early evening on Wednesday, New York City time. The occasion was Bayern’s first shakedown and workout on the Audi Summer Tour USA 2014.

Following the nine-hour flight from the Bavarian capital, coach Pep Guardiola showed sympathy for his jet-lagged men and restricted the session to jogging, a warm-up, stretching, and some simple passing drills. The stars retired to their hotel for dinner and sleep, before the inevitable early wake-up the following morning.

The flight left Munich just before 11 am local time as the Reds head to the USA for a brand-building tour of the vital and booming footballing market. “We’re really looking forward to it,” reported David Alaba, “we have big plans and I’m sure there’ll be plenty to see. We want to give soccer fans in the US a really good impression of FC Bayern.”

On arrival at Newark/New Jersey at a quarter to two in the afternoon local time, the first item on the agenda was a press conference featuring Guardiola and Bayern’s US starlet Julian Green. The German and American reporters were joined by counterparts from Mexico: FCB play Chivas de la Guadalajara in their first friendly match of the tour in just under two days’ time.

“We’ve not only come here to enjoy ourselves, we also want to put on a show for the fans,” the coach said. The game on Thursday afternoon (kick-off is at 2 am Friday CET) is a near sell-out, and Wednesday evening’s workout in pleasant temperatures of around 25 degrees Celsius was watched by an appreciative crowd. “I’m just happy to be here with my team,” Guardiola stated.

The meeting with Chivas would be “another good test, so we can see where we stand and where we still have work to do. It’ll help our pre-season preparations,” the coach continued. FCB are still without most of their World Cup stars including the six Germany internationals, “but that’s no excuse, we’re Bayern Munich,” the Spaniard declared, “I’m certain we’ll have a very good season. It’s not the first time I’ve had to deal with a situation like this. I can cope.” Guardiola for one seemed as fresh as ever despite the rigours of the flight.