presented by
‘Lay the foundations’

Reds get down to work in Doha

The players just had time to deposit their gear in their hotel rooms before Pep Guardiola summoned his men to the first training session of the stay in Qatar. Shortly after half-past seven local time the stars took to the immaculate playing surfaces at the Aspire Academy for Sports Excellence and began putting into practice the instructions handed down by Matthias Sammer: “To lay good foundations.”

The first beads of sweat were soon flowing at this year’s Volkswagen Camp Qatar as the players practiced passing, played games of eight-on-two and rounded off the workout with a stamina-building run. The opening session of the camp concluded with a mandatory ice bath, although flu-ridden Juan Bernat was excused that particular drill following a solo session.

Long-term absentees David Alaba and Javi Martínez continued their recoveries from injury with sports rehab and fitness coaches Thomas Wilhelmi and Dr. Holger Broich. Alaba again had the ball at his feet, “and we hope he’ll be able to resume team training in the course of the camp,” Sammer reported.

Guardiola has scheduled two workouts per day in Doha, with the next session at 10 am on Saturday morning. That’s when the players will continue the “good, concentrated and focused work” called for by sporting director Sammer.