This Friday morning, Bayern Munich players, coaches and management boarded a plane at Munich airport, in preparation for their winter training camp in Doha, Qatar. This will mark the fifth year in a row that the Rekordmeister have made the Aspire Academy for Sports Excellence their base, and, with the exception of 2008, when they went to Marbella, Spain, they have prepared for every Rückrunde since 2004 in the Middle East.
Bayern Munich will play two friendlies during their time in Qatar. The first will take place on January 13th against the Katar All-Stars before their final friendly against Qatari club side Al Hilal on January 17th.
All but two pros are on the trip
According to tz.de, every professional player was on the trip, except for long-time injured stars Philipp Lahm andThiago Alcantara, who stayed in Munich to continue their rehab. Players like Holger Badstuber (who returned to team practice this week) and David Alaba (expected to join the team training in Qatar) were on the plane, as was Javier Martinez, who won't be practicing with the team, but who is considered to be getting close, and will continue his rehab (which will probably involve a lot of running) in the sunny weather of the Gulf state.
Don't forget about the young 'uns
As previously reported by Davis VanOpdorp, in addition to getting the team ready for the second half of the season, this presents a great opportunity for the club to include some of their most promising youth players, both to give the kids a whiff of what it's like to train with a world-class roster under a world-class coach, but also to evaluate the up-and-coming talent.
Along with the expected quartet of Mitchell Weiser, Gianluca Gaudino, Sinan Kurt and Leopold Zingerle, Pep took a couple of U-19 standouts with him. Midfielder (and captain of the U-19 team) Marco Hingerl scored himself a plane ticket, along with his teammate, forward Michael Eberwein. For a little more information on these two, check out Davis' article.
Nobody get hurt now, ya hear?
Here's hoping that the training camp is a success, nobody gets hurt, and all the currently injured or out of form players are able to join the team practices, to get everybody ready for what will be a challenging second part of the season.
26 players traveled with @FCBayern to Qatar. Here is a speculative list: GK: Manuel Neuer, Pepe Reina, Tom Starke, Leopold Zingerle (1/4)— Bavarian FB Works (@BavarianFBWorks) January 9, 2015
DF: David Alaba, Holger Badstuber, Mehdi Benatia, Juan Bernat, Jérôme Boateng, Dante, Javi Martínez, Rafinha, Mitchel Weiser (2/4)— Bavarian FB Works (@BavarianFBWorks) January 9, 2015
MF: Xabi Alonso, Gianluca Gaudino, Mario Götze, Marco Hingerl, Franck Ribéry, Arjen Robben, Sebastian Rode, Bastian Schweinsteiger (3/4)— Bavarian FB Works (@BavarianFBWorks) January 9, 2015
FW: Michael Eberwein, Sinan Kurt, Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Müller, Claudio Pizarro (4/4)— Bavarian FB Works (@BavarianFBWorks) January 9, 2015