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Players report back

Stars raring to go on eve of preseason

Here we go again! Some 38 days after presenting the championship shield to the adoring crowds from the balcony of Munich Town Hall, the senior FC Bayern pros report back to the Säbener Strasse facility on Wednesday after their five-week break. The first training session of the 2015/16 campaign starts at 11.00 CET. “I’m fired up for it,” declared vice-captain Bastian Schweinsteiger on the eve of the workout supervised by boss Pep Guardiola.

Only seven men were there for the first day of preseason at the same time last year due to the ongoing World Cup in Brazil, but Guardiola will take charge of the majority of his troops this time. Headed by captain Philipp Lahm and senior Spaniards Xabi Alonso, Javi Martínez and Thiago, and including fit-again David Alaba and Arjen Robben, the group will include many of the club’s big-name stars.

However, Guardiola is still without a clutch of his internationals including players involved in Euro 2016 qualifying after the end of the domestic season such as Schweinsteiger, Mario Götze and Robert Lewandowski. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is back from a loan spell with Augsburg but both he and new signing Joshua Kimmich were still contesting the U-21 Euro in the Czech Republic until last weekend and have only just gone on leave. Elsewhere, Franck Ribéry and Holger Badstuber are still on the injury roster.

Nine games in 44 days

Julian Green will resume duty at FCB after ending his time on loan with Hamburg, but the only truly new face on Wednesday will be that of backup keeper Sven Ulreich. “I’m really looking forward to the whole team and all the new things I’m set to experience here,” the former Stuttgart shot-stopper said at his contract signing. “I want to make a contribution to our success and will always be there when called upon.”

Guardiola and his staff have 44 days to prepare their team prior to the Bundesliga restart fixture against Hamburger SV on 14 August. The Reds’ summer schedule includes seven friendlies, the German Super Cup final away to VfL Wolfsburg on 1 August, and the DFB Cup first round tie away to FC Nöttingen the following weekend, before they set out in pursuit of a 26th domestic championship.

“We’ve won the league three times in a row and I believe no team in Germany has ever managed four on the bounce. That’s a big motivating factor!” declared Schweinsteiger as he looked ahead to the new campaign.