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Players report back after winter break

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Players report back after winter break

Postby FCBayernNews » Mon Jan 07, 2008 8:40 pm


Willy Sagnol led the way into 2008 at Bayern, the Frenchman emerging first from the dressing room and onto a rain-soaked training ground at twenty past ten on Monday morning as Ottmar Hitzfeld took charge of the first squad workout since the winter break. The head coach supervised a group of 19 players, including new signing Breno, but without Marcell Jansen (rehab after surgery) and flu victims Franck Ribéry, Daniel van Buyten and Lukas Podolski, although the latter trio are expected to train on Tuesday.

“I’ve heard they all reported back punctually,” Uli Hoeneß told the daily news conference afterwards. “That was certainly a positive sign,” added Hitzfeld, declaring himself “utterly delighted at returning to the Säbener Strasse and seeing the team and the board again.” After a two and a half week break, the General now has 22 days to prepare his men for the remainder of the campaign. “I’m looking forward to the next five months,” the coach commented, “we’re in the running for three trophies. That’s a huge motivating factor for me personally.“

<b>General by name and nature</b>

The first half of the season had indicated “we’re well on course to hit our targets,” Hitzfeld remarked. Bayern return to competitive action in three and a half weeks away to third division Wuppertaler SV in the last sixteen of the DFB German Cup. The central focus of an intensive schedule before then is a training camp in Marbella (13 to 20 January), supported by four friendly matches.

The players were all given an individually tailored fitness plan for the festive period to help them remain in shape. “I’m assuming they all kept to it,” reported Hitzfeld, who will now check his hypothesis against a set of data collected from his stars on Monday, symbolic of a new disciplined approach in the dressing room. “I intend to be very strict with the team,” the General announced, confirming that a close watch would be kept on the players’ behaviour and public statements.

<b>Varied restart programme</b>

Hitzfeld explained his newly-introduced code of conduct to the assembled squad in the dressing room before the session. “I’ve informed them I’ll be coming down hard on indiscipline,” the coach said, “we cannot tolerate disorder. If we can avoid that, I’m certain we’ll do well over the rest of the season.“

For the first session after Christmas, Hitzfeld and his regular staff were joined by sports scientist Riccardo Proietti, a familiar face from the pre-season period and set to remain with the squad for the next few weeks. A varied programme on Monday included strength and co-ordination exercises using hurdles and medicine balls, followed by a tactically-oriented practice match featuring strikers and midfielders versus defenders, with a stamina-building run to round off the workout.

<b>Raring to go</b>

The session officially ended at ten minutes to midday as the sodden players traipsed back to the dressing room for a well-earned shower. The players were required back on the training ground after lunch, with morning and afternoon sessions planned for most of the next few days, although Hoeneß reported an almost tangible willingness and desire among the squad: “I looked into the players’ faces, and I saw motivation.“
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