Created on 2018-08-23 at 14:45 PM
Loud shouting and exuberant cheering could suddenly be heard at the Säbener Strasse. The reason was a sprint competition at the beginning of Friday's training session, Kingsley Coman handing his group the victory in the last few meters. The Bavarians love competition and can hardly wait for the Bundesliga to start again.
"We're really looking forward to it. The Bundesliga restart is still something special," said Mats Hummels ahead of Friday's home match against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim (Live in English from 2:30 pm ET on our exclusive fcbayern.com ticker). His coach thinks so too, and so Niko Kovac began the press conference before the Bundesliga opener with a wide grin despite some open questions. "Nobody knows at which level he is before the first match," commented the 46-year-old, who is very satisfied with Bayern's pre-season.
Only Gnabry missing
"Every coach thinks pre-season was good, and I agree. We've loaded and prepared everyone well. I'm sure my team will have a top day," said the Bayern boss. Bayern will need a good day because the visitors, who finished third last season, "are in very good form. I'm expecting a very, very difficult match." In terms of personnel, Niko Kovac has "all players except Serge Gnabry" at his disposal. Gnabry, who joined Bayern from Hoffenheim this summer, is unavailable due to a muscular problem.
Kovac' counterpart has more problems. Julian Nagelsmann will have to make do without a number of household names like Nadiem Amiri, Kerem Demirbay or Andrej Kramaric. Benjamin Hübner, Florian Grillitsch and Havard Nordveidt are rated doubtful. "They've resumed training but we'll have to see whether it makes sense to field them on Friday," declared the 31-year-old. But the Hoffenheim coach still aims to win at the Allianz Arena.
Nagelsmann's statements as an incentive
"Basically you only have a chance against Bayern if you play boldly. It'll be difficult if you aren't resolute," said Nagelsmann, who has ambitious goals for the season: "I always strive for the maximum, and the maximum is the title." His words struck a chord with the German record champions: "I like it when a coach makes clear statements and doesn't hide away. The challenge makes the competition more interesting," commented Joshua Kimmich.
"Competition stimulates us, we have to be better than them," added Kovac, who thinks Hoffenheim will compete for the championship shield. "But at the end of the day I want to clinch the title," he stressed his goal for the season. A victory over Hoffenheim would be a first step towards cheering and celebrations at the Allianz Arena next May - and not only on the training ground.