Final test before Bundesliga restart
It was more winter wonderland than desert sun for FC Bayern as they turned out for their first session of the new year at a snow-covered Säbener Straße following a week's training camp in the warmth of Doha. Niko Kovac had allowed his squad a day off before welcoming them back to the final workout before departing for Sunday's Telekom Cup in Dusseldorf (highlights available shortly afterwards).
At the 10th edition of the traditional pre-season tournament, the record German champions want to test themselves ahead of the Bundesliga restart on Friday at Hoffenheim and the continuation of the hunt for league leaders Borussia Dortmund. FCB are also out to defend their title from 2017 -- their fourth in the competition, which is a record.
Bayern kick off the tournament against hosts Fortuna Düsseldorf at 13:00 CET before Borussia Mönchengladbach and Hertha Berlin contest their semi-final. The two victors will then face off in the final at 16:30. "We've got two matches each lasting 45 minutes. It's the next training session for us. It's the last chance we've got to work on something," said Robert Lewandowski, who is the competition's all-time top scorer with six goals.
FCB's only friendlies of the short winter break are seen as hugely important ahead of the certainly tough job at Hoffenheim five days later. "I think both friendlies are the perfect preparation for the Bundesliga restart. I hope the week goes well and we're in top form come Friday," Lewandowski added.
Bayern travel to Dusseldorf without veteran wingers Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery (both thigh) as well as world champion Corentin Tolisso (knee). However, Serge Gnabry and James Rodriguez are both fit again after missing the end of 2018, and there could also be a debut in FCB colours for Alphonso Davies.