'We're stronger than in summer'
The final training session on the once again perfect pitch was also the shortest. Carlo Ancelotti had his team sweating in the morning Doha sun for just 50 minutes before calling proceedings to an end so not to overwork the players ahead of their first friendly of the year against KAS Eupen (live on FCBayern.tv from 16:00 CET).
"The week has been very good -- we've trained with real intensity," said the FC Bayern coach in praise of his team. "Our confidence is high." Ancelotti was "very pleased" with the approach of his team, as well as the "perfect pitches," the hotel and the performance-enhancing climate. "The weather has helped us a lot," explained Ancelotti, "You can't train with this sort of workload when it's freezing."
There are just ten days to go before Bayern's first competitive game of 2017 against SC Freiburg, and the coach believes his side are well-prepared. "We're stronger than in the summer. We know each other better after six months working together. That's why I think the second half of the campaign will be better than the first." That will be very important to achieve the team's goals in all three competitions, according to Ancelotti: "Our expectations are to play better than we did in the first half of the season. We want to be up there until the end."
"A good mix"
Ancelotti is also pleased for Manuel Neuer, who was once again voted into the FIFA FIFPro World XI for the fourth year in a row. "Everyone is really pleased for Manu. He is the best keeper in the world. He always concentrates and helps the team to be better," said Ancelotti. But the Italian is particularly focusing on team spirit in the second half of the campaign: "All players are important. The squad is good, we have a good mix of young and experienced players. This mix helps us for the second part of the season."
There is still one small challenge awaiting the Bayern squad. The temperature difference between Munich and Doha has at time been 50 degrees Celsius, so the record champions will have to readjust to the German winter. Lahm, Müller & co. should therefore be "a bit careful", according to Ancelotti, who has gifted his players a day off following their return home. But they'll be back sweating away at Säbener Straße on Friday -- even in the frosty conditions.