Zàijiàn, China! FCB return from ‘impressive’ tour
The FC Bayern players and officials returned to Munich from the Audi Summer Tour China early on Friday morning. After some eleven and a half hours in the air, the Lufthansa charter carrying the cream of Germany's most successful club touched down at five to seven in the morning. Before leaving Guangzhou following the match against Evergrande, the players had made their fans happy yet again by tossing their matchworn shirts into the crowd while others distributed balls and training kit.
It was a perfect end to a tour that was "a total success in every respect," as Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said at Thursday's press conference. "We've hit all the targets we set ourselves." FCB board director for internationalisation and strategy Jörg Wacker agreed: "Thank-you to the whole team. And thanks to our Chinese fans! We're impressed."
The travelling party took off from Munich on Thursday last week. Naturally, everything was prepared as perfectly as possible, but that is still no guarantee of a successful trip. At the end of the day, everyone was happy: the board, the coaching staff, the players, the club's partners and the fans in China, whose enthusiasm was extraordinary, Wacker noted. "It started with the reception in Beijing and continued with the chants of 'Super-Bayern, Super-Bayern'. It sent shivers down your spine."
The players admitted they had not expected such a wave of passion. "I was a bit surprised," said Thomas Müller, a massively popular figure among the locals along with Philipp Lahm, Mario Götze and Manuel Neuer. Sebastian Rode was somewhat less in the spotlight, "but I still had some fantastic moments. It was a busy programme and it's left some amazing impressions," the former Frankfurt midfielder said, "we return home with a good feeling."
'We've trained well'
The head coach had a good trip too. Despite the tiring travel, host of sponsors' appointments and sultry weather, the team had "trained well," noted Pep Guardiola, "more than we thought we would. And the most important thing is that everyone's healthy." Javi Martinez, who is carrying a knee injury, was the only man unable to train with the squad. However, Matthias Sammer reported, it is not a major problem and Martinez will soon be back out on the field.
The tour of China was a positive experience for everyone involved. And FC Bayern will continue to travel the world in the summer in the years to come. "We want sustainability," commented Wacker. Rummenigge offered a convincing explanation: "There's no alternative to these trips. We're competing with the big clubs from Spain and England. If we're to keep up, we have to embrace internationalisation and globalisation. I believe FC Bayern are on the right track."