Day 6: Internal friendly on final evening
The Bayern stars are in Doha, Qatar from 4 to 10 January, toiling away at the traditional mid-season training camp. Read our daily diary direct from the Aspire Zone Foundation and find out more about the players' activities and impressions.
Watching the Bayern players this morning, you couldn't tell they're now on the home straight of their training camp in Doha. Although head coach Niko Kovac had called an end to the day's first session after less than an hour, his players stayed out on the pitch and practised crossing and shooting drills. They had some fun too, and Jerome Boateng in particular sparkled with one or two back-heel goals, the central defender displaying no sign of the exertions of the last week.
"It's been exhausting. That's the whole point," the 30-year-old later remarked, giving an insight into his wellbeing. "We want to prepare ourselves well for the second half of the season, and having sore muscles is part and parcel of that." To help those muscles recover, the Reds were certainly helped by the fact that the Bayern coach had given his charges the afternoon off the day before. During the short break Boateng had "done nothing special", rather he had "relaxed a little, read and chatted on the phone". Other teammates like Thomas Müller, Robert Lewandowski and Sven Ulreich were a bit more active and played golf.
Bierhoff a guest at practice match
The shortened morning session actually had a purpose. Kovac wanted his players to be in the best shape for the internal practice match in the evening. After all the sessions focusing on strength and fitness, Boateng was also happy to turn on the power for 90 minutes during the match. "Just to play football again is also part and parcel of it, and it's a good way to end the training camp," the 2014 World Cup winner remarked: "It's good for our rhythm to play a game like this under competitive conditions again."
The match on the grounds of the Aspire Zone attracted some prominent spectators. In addition to Spanish world champion Xavi, Germany manager Oliver Bierhoff was also present in Doha on Wednesday and wanted to get an impression of the condition of the record champions' Germany internationals. They both witnessed a fast game with numerous good combinations and enjoyed seeing a total of seven goals.