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'Most ambitious goals'

Bayern strive for 'best possible form'

The clock is ticking: following the holiday break FC Bayern only have 18 days to get into shape before the Bundesliga restart match against Hamburger SV on 22 January. As in previous years the Bavarians aim to lay the foundations for a successful the second half of the season at the Doha training camp. On Wednesday evening the German record champions checked in to the Aspire Academy. Following a gentle warm-up shortly after their arrival, the Reds were firing on all cylinders on Thursday morning.

“Seven of our first ten fixtures are on the road,” explained sporting director Matthias Sammer after the first of two training sessions on the day. Considering the demanding schedule for the runaway table-toppers following the break, there is only one course of action in the remaining two weeks of the short winter preparation: “We have to get every single player into the best possible form as soon as possible. That's the motto from today on,” stressed Sammer.

'Fantastic conditions'

The Reds are preparing in Qatar for the sixth time in a row - and considering the numerous trophies FCB have clinched in the last few years a little superstition is not out of place. “We’ve always established a good basis here,” declared Sammer, who expects the team to reach the desired “physical and mental” level once again. “The mind is required even before the legs start to work,” commented the sporting director, stressing that the “potential for distraction” at the training camp is low.

“You're not going anywhere if you're not 100 percent focused and clear in your mind.” The expectation is for every player to do everything necessary to “reach the best performance level possible to him. One percent of wrong thinking can lead to disastrous consequences at this level. The air at the top is very thin,” said Sammer, praising the “fantastic conditions” at the largest training facility in the world. “Fitness rooms, weight rooms, opportunities for regeneration, short distances: everything's perfect.”

Good winter break

That means Pep Guardiola can profitably use the time until next Tuesday to prepare his troops for the second half of the season. “The coach is very ambitious, the players themselves are hungry for success,” declared Sammer. Thursday's session on the pitch was appropriately intense, and almost all players were able to take part in the demanding workout. Guardiola oversaw another session in the late afternoon.

Sammer stressed how much the FCB pros have benefited from the winter break. “All the players were given plans to retain their fitness.” The pros can thus get used to the training load quickly and go through “the specific procedures.” FCB will raise the burden at the training camp “step by step” to approach the best possible form. After all, “at FC Bayern we have the most ambitious goals,” declared Sammer. And the clock is ticking.