Bayern Munich’s warm weather training in Doha in their preparations for the second half of the season are under way after what feels like ages since Bayern or the German national team has played a match of football. Of course, the Bundesliga is still one of the only top flights across Europe that still utilizes a proper winter break, but once the Rückrunde begins, Bayern will be playing a match every three to five days as they continue to push across three fronts. They’ve brought in Daley Blind from AFC Ajax already in the winter transfer window and it is still expected that they’ll sign a goalkeeper to replace the injured Manuel Neuer with Borussia Monchengladbach’s Yann Sommer leading the race to be that signing.
Bayern get off to a difficult start on the 20th of January when they travel east to take on RB Leipzig at the RedBull Arena for the first Bundesliga match of the Rückrunde and face a severely congested fixtures list up until their first Champions League round of 16 clash against Paris Saint-Germain. The difficult start to the 2023 program is something that Leon Goretzka said he is relishing from Bayern’s training camp in Doha. “Really excited. It just feels good now to have the Bayern badge on our chest again and to prepare for our goals here. We are looking forward to the restart,” he said when he was asked about opening on the calendar year with a trip to Leipzig (FC Bayern).
At this juncture, with a strong finish to the Hinrunde, Bayern sits four points clear of second-placed SC Freiburg in the Bundesliga table and six points clear of third-placed RB Leipzig. They had gone through a difficult patch of form where they went four straight league matches without a win, but that patch looks purely a thing of the past with the way they closed the first half of the season, winning 10 straight matches across all competitions.
Lifting yet another Meisterschale is something that Goretzka has his sight firmly set on. “It’s the nicest thing there is, to stand there at the end of the season with the trophy and know that everyone is trying year after year to knock us off the top. The title is of course our absolute goal again this year. Although many people say it’s boring, we can’t take any notice of that. That won’t change anything about our motivation,” he explained.
In the Champions League, Bayern has so much recent history with PSG from the 2019/20 final and the 2020/21 knockout stages. They meet each other again, this time in the round of 16, in a matchup that Goretzka described as a “super tie” against one of the most difficult opponents they could’ve drawn after dominating their group. “Paris are one of the strongest opponents in Europe with outstanding individual players. It will be a super tie. The Champions League is there for teams like these to meet. This pairing would’ve also been a nice final. At the end of the day, we don’t need to hide from anyone and we’re looking forward to the clash. It is an absolute highlight and we’ll be ready,” he said.