Bayern arrive in Doha for winter training

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Happy New Year! On Saturday evening, Hansi Flick signalled the end to new year celebrations and a return to preparation for the second half of the season by leading the team's first training session of the new year. The Bayern stars had to battle fatigue after a long day of travelling - made even longer by a 90-minute flight delay from Munich to the desert state due to a faulty stairway - so it was pretty clear for all to see how much the players enjoyed the opportunity to finally get back on the ball after settling in, with temperatures a pleasant 20 degrees Celsius.

Optimal conditions for the best possible preparation

Next week, Flick's side will lay the foundations for a successful second half of the season with just shy of a dozen training sessions at their winter base, before jetting back to Germany to face 1.FC Nürnberg in a friendly in seven days time. The second half of the season kicks off away at Hertha Berlin on January 19. Hasan Salihamidžić has joined the group in Doha, and he is confident that the Bayern players will benefit from the trip. 

Serge Gnabry and Co in good spirits before the flight to Doha.

"We'll do everything we can during the training camp to prepare well and to give ourselves the best shot of going full throttle from the very first game," the sporting director said. He also re-emphasised before the side left for Doha that the players would be met with "very, very good conditions" at their disposal at the Aspire Academy for Sports Excellence, helping the team work on some fine tuning before the second half of the campaign. 

Last year, the winter camp served as a foundation for a strong second half of the season, which saw the German record champions win the league-cup double for the twelfth time in the club's history. In the Bundesliga, Bayern were six points off top spot a year ago - this time round they are just four points behind league leaders RB Leipzig. With three wins on the bounce to end 2019, the side from Bavaria have kept pace with the leaders and currently lie third, leading Manuel Neuer to announce after the last home game that the side "will continue to attack in the second half of the season" and "leapfrog [Leipzig and Gladbach] into first place."  

Pictures from the trip to Doha and the side's first training session can be found in the gallery above 👆🏻

A time for young players to stand out

The fact that Bayern have to do without four players in their preparations is no issue, according to Salihamidžić, and instead offers younger players in the 26-man squad the opportunity to prove their value. "If you train really well, do everything you can to give yourself the chance for a shot at the first team, then everyone gets their opportunity," explained the 43-year-old. The example of 18-year-old Joshua Zirkzee, who scored his first two Bundesliga goals just before Christmas, made the sporting director "optimistic that everyone will be able to give a good account of himself in front of the head coach".

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