FCB aim to impress fans in Shanghai
Everything was ready. On the dot of 11 am local time, the complete Bayern armada was on board the plane in Beijing, ready to set off for Shanghai and the second stage of the Audi Summer Tour 2015. However, Chinese air traffic control had other plans. The Lufthansa captain estimated a two-hour delay, as no take-off slot had been assigned. The passengers ended up spending three and a half hours on the tarmac.
The players refused to let the problems affect them. "There's nothing we can do about it," Thomas Müller said later at the press conference in Shanghai. "I slept a bit, watched a movie, looked out of the window and spoke with others. I'm a communicative person after all." Pep Guardiola revealed that he used the time to take another look at the friendly against Valencia.
The delay meant it was dusk when the Bayern party landed in Shanghai, China's largest city with around 25 million inhabitants. The flight was followed by a one-hour bus transfer to the team hotel, before the stars headed off to training. "It seems to be a lively city, with a lot of restaurants and green spaces. The first impressions make me curious," Müller declared.
Training itself was more relaxing on Sunday. The main objective was to shake off the tiredness from the flight and the Valencia match. Apart from Javi Martinez, who was out with a knock, all the players took part. This includes Manuel Neuer, Mario Götze and Jérôme Boateng, who had yet to train on the tour so far. "Overall we're at a good fitness level. Now we have to step up against Inter and impress the fans," Müller said.
The Italians are Bayern's opponents in the second Audi Football Summiton Tuesday (20.00 CET). Inter are a "big team in Europe," Guardiola noted. "It will be a good test. It's better to play fewer matches but against stronger opponents."
It is expected that many Chinese supporters will cheer on the Reds. In Shanghai many thousands were there to give a warm welcome to the Bavarian stars. "I knew that Bayern has a lot of support in China, but I'm startled at how many fans are actually here," Müller confessed. "They even sing along to the German songs. I believe I heard them sing 'Stern des Südens' the other day. It's incredible." An experience that more than makes up for the delay.