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Press conferences

Neuer: Every detail counts

Following a day off at the Qatar training camp Pep Guardiola brought his men in for two training sessions on Sunday. Manuel Neuer and Jérôme Boateng answered journalists' questions at press conferences between the workouts. listened in:

How was the ATP tennis final? Being a tennis fan (“I was a club player until I was 13”) Neuer was in his element: “We had great seats, in the south terrace as it were. We didn't have stiff necks because we didn't need to look left or right all the time.” Novak Djokovic's clear-cut victory against Rafael Nadal (6-1, 6-2) left its mark on his Spanish team-mates, joked Neuer: “It was relatively quiet on the bus.” On the free Saturday a large part of the squad attended the ATP tennis tournament final.

How are things at the training camp? “Up to now it's very positive,” said Boateng: “We've worked well, trained very intensely. I think we've laid a good foundation for the second half of the season.” Neuer stressed that the time in Doha is crucial. Bayern are “fully on track” at the midpoint of the campaign, but “you can't make something out of nothing. Every detail counts.”

How hard is it going to be against Juventus in the Champions League? “We got quite a cracker this time,” said Neuer. The Bayern keeper expects “two close games” – and is looking forward to them: “I like that. I prefer to see players on the pitch whose strengths and weaknesses I know.” Boateng too expects “very unpleasant opponents.” The Italian record champions are “very clever, tactically trained” and have a “very strong forward” in former FCB pro Mario Mandzukic. “He's very physical, strong in the air and always wants to win. It's going to be exciting.”

How are the youngsters doing at the training camp? “They're giving everything, they're making a big effort,” reported Boateng. Neuer commented on the sessions with 15-year-old goalkeeping talent Christian Früchtl: “At 15 I trained with the juniors, not with the pros. Christian is one and a half heads taller than I was at that age. He's talented, very attentive and tries to learn a lot.”

Who will be named the world's best player? “Messi deserves it,” according to Boateng. For a defender it is “difficult” to win the poll. “The forwards score the goals and do the tricks,” said the FCB defender, who scored a back-heel goal in training. “That's not enough,” joked Boateng. On Monday evening the World Player of the Year award will be presented at the FIFA Ballon d’Or Gala in Zurich. The two candidates besides Lionel Messi are Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo.