'We need power'


It is the most exhausting time of the year, but Rafinha was beaming when he worked out on the Säbener Strasse training ground. Bayern are laying the foundations for the upcoming season, and Niko Kovac by no means rests his players. The Bavarians completed a number of rondo drills and interval tuns in the two-hour session on Thursday morning. The second session of the day will be in the afternoon.

"It's very intense, but we need it after a five-week holiday," said Rafinha after the session, breathing deeply. The 32-year-old is in the middle of his eighth summer pre-season at Bayern, so he knows why he works so hard."We have a lot of quality, we've got character, we're a superb team. The only thing we still need is power," explained the Brazilian, who enjoys the work despite all the sweat.

Workload management and details

Rafinha feinted a start when everyone was ready for the sprints, fooling his younger colleagues. "You know you can achieve something here every year, that's why it's fun," said the six-time German champion, who is impressed by his new coach.

Rafihna had a long talk with Kovac on the way to the dressing room. "We still have to get to know each other, so we must talk," explained the full-back: "Niko is doing a good job. He's a young coach and fully involved." Besides Rafinha, the nine other pros who worked out yesterday were fully involved once again, including some youngsters. Franck Ribéry left the training ground after an hour to continue in the performance centre.

Workload management and small details in every single drill are equally important to Kovac. "Try it with the other foot from time to time. You need both in football," instructed the coach. Arjen Robben soon crashed a right-footed volley into the back of the net. "It's good to get new impressions and stimuli," Rafinha said in praise of his coach on his way to the dressing room, exhausted but smiling.