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Squad arrives safely

FCB complete first workout in Doha

Winter warmth here we come! The FC Bayern players, coaches and officials boarded a Lufthansa charter jet at 9.30 CET on Wednesday morning for the flight to the annual mid-season training camp in Doha, where the stars arrived safely some five hours later ready to work out in agreeable temperatures of around 20 degrees Celsius. “We want to work hard and lay the foundations for a good second half of the season,” Jérôme Boateng said at Munich airport. The defender described conditions and facilities at the Aspire Academy as “top. The training pitches are right next to the hotel.”

A total of 29 players travelled to the Emirate, including the quartet still working individually towards comebacks: Franck Ribéry, Mario Götze, David Alaba and Mehdi Benatia. As usual, a handful of promising youngsters are also in the squad: 17-year-old trio Niklas Dorsch, Fabian Benko and Marco Friedl, 19-year-old Milos Pantovic, and keeper Christian Früchtl, a resident of the club’s Jugendhaus youth centre and a mere 15 years old. The travelling party does not include Jan Kirchhoff, who is away with his agent concluding negotiations for a possible transfer.

Opening session on arrival

“In Doha, we want to prepare for a tough second half of the season,” commented Holger Badstuber, “after such a good first half of the campaign it’s all in our own hands. We want success, and that’s what we’ll work towards.” And the men from Munich did indeed get straight down to work: Pep Guardiola took charge of his troops in the first training session on the billiard-table smooth grass pitches just two hours after the squad’s arrival in Doha and immediately following the group check-in at the team hotel.

The opening workout initially focused on recuperation after the long flight. The players practised their close control and short passing in popular rounds of five-against-two, occasionally interrupted for short stamina-building runs. The men on the injury roster pursued their tailored sports rehab programmes elsewhere, with Ribéry running again for the first time since sustaining an injury in the Champions League trip to Dinamo Zagreb and his brief comeback away to Mönchengladbach.

Gentle run for Boateng, Robben rested

Boateng also went for a gentle run, although the defender is expected to resume the full squad programme on Thursday. Arjen Robben was the only man not to appear on the training ground at all as he has still to shake off a cold and was excused duty as a precaution. Thursday’s schedule features two training sessions for the first time in the mid-season preparation period.

Look out for our usual comprehensive and exclusive coverage of the training camp on, and our social media channels!