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“Now it’s time for serious work”

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“Now it’s time for serious work”

Postby FCBayernNews » Fri Jan 05, 2007 9:15 pm

05.01.2007

Bastian Schweinsteiger received a pat on the head from Uli Hoeness at Munich Airport on Thursday. “Hello, Mr. Schweinsteiger,” said the Bayern general manager, grinning. “What happened to you?” In fact, ‘Schweini’ had been to the barber’s and his head was shorn of all but a fine stubble. His message: We’re ready for sun, sweat and hard work!

That’s what lies ahead for Bayern’s players over the next 10 days. At 9.20 p.m. on Thursday evening team members, coaching and medical staff and officials set off for their training camp in Dubai aboard Lufthansa flight 638. The 14-day Christmas holiday was well and truly over.

<B>Fitness and teamwork</B>

“We needed the break,” Hoeness admitted as the Bayern party waited for their flight. Now the manager is looking for “fresh dynamism” during the three weeks of preparation for the second half of the season. He said: “Now it’s time for some serious work, to build up our fitness and to hone our form for the for the home stretch of the championship.

Felix Magath also managed to recharge his batteries. “It was good to relax, but now I’m happy to get back to work,” he said. The head coach has two priorities for Dubai: to boost his players’ fitness, and most importantly, “to ensure that the understanding between the different parts of the team is better than in the first half of the season”.

<B>Everyone on board</B>

Bayern are arriving to ideal conditions in the Gulf emirate on the edge of the desert. Temperatures of 25 degrees Celsius and sunshine represent vastly better conditions for training than in wet and cold Munich. When the Bayern party arrived at Dubai International Airport at 6.15 a.m. on Friday morning after a flight of just under six hours, the temperature was already up to 15 Celsius.

But it’s not only the welcoming conditions that make Magath optimistic as he and his players get down to preparations for the return to action. “We no longer have any major injury worries,” he announced with satisfaction. All 24 Bayern professionals as well as amateurs goalkeeper Thomas Kraft have made the trip to Dubai, even the five players still on the injured list: Valérien Ismael, Owen Hargreaves, Sebastian Deisler and Mehmet Scholl.

<B>Hargreaves still not fit</B>

Ismael (fractures of the tibia and fibula) and Scholl (torn muscle) will undertake only light training to begin with, and Hoeness noted that Hargreaves (broken fibula) is “still not 100 per cent recovered”; the England midfielder will be restricted to running exercises while in Dubai. Following the return to Munich he will have to undergo an examination before any decision is taken on returning to training with the team. His fitness for the Bundesliga resumption is doubtful.

Bayern begin the second half of the championship on January 26 in Dortmund, and it is now that the foundations will be laid. Said Magath: “We want to get stuck in in order to come out at the end as champions.” According to Hoeness, exhaustion after the World Cup will no longer justify any underperformance. “The World Cup is absolutely in the past,” he said. “Now there are no more excuses left.” The message certainly seems to have got through to Schweinsteiger. His new hairstyle sets the tone for the coming 10 days of sun, sweat and hard work.

<i>By Nikolaus Heindl for <b>fcbayern.de</B> in Dubai</i>
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