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'We've grown even closer together'

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'We've grown even closer together'

Postby FCBayernNews » Tue Jan 13, 2009 9:00 pm

When the Bayern plane touched down in Munich on Tuesday morning, the expressions on many faces betrayed a certain amount of relief. After ten days in the Persian Gulf and a truly long-haul flight back to Bavaria via Jeddah, the party was looking forward to a shower, a hearty breakfast, and the comforts of home - a very understandable combination.

The winter training camp unofficially opened with the squad's departure late in the evening on 2 January. After an intense week of fitness training in Dubai, Jürgen Klinsmann's team then completed two friendly matches, against Al Jazira in Abu Dhabi, and two days later against top Saudi Arabian outfit Al Wheda in Jeddah. FCB won both matches, but that was not the main reason for the positive tone to Klinsmann's analysis. "We've done good work on the fundamentals. It's been a successful trip," the Bayern coach told FCB.tv.

There was no training camp in the pre-season period, so the winter event was a first extended trip together for the squad and the coaching staff. "Going there was a fantastic experience," commented Klinsmann, probably referring less to the tourism opportunities presented by three fascinating and varied destinations, and more to the team-building aspects of the trip.

The ten days away have visibly increased the squad's interaction and unity, in training, at meals and on the plane. "The atmosphere was always positive. They've opened up, had a laugh and even gone out together of an evening. We've really enjoyed it," said Klinsmann, "the team has grown even closer together."

"You always know when a team's functioning well, when the chemistry's right. Looking at things here, I think it's obvious a very, very good group has developed over the last six months," agreed general manager Uli Hoeneß. The board director has cut a very satisfied figure in recent days, closely following the punishing training routines and the communal off-field activities with equal interest.

Hoeneß is convinced that the "spirit of Dubai" will carry over into the second half of the football season. "We'll win the league. I was saying that when we were 12 points in arrears. We're level on points and only four goals behind, which is nothing for Bayern," the manager declared. Leaders Hoffenheim pipped the champions to top spot at Christmas on a slightly better goal difference.

Hoeneß feels it will only be a matter of time before Klinsmann's team goes top of the table. "The trend is your friend, and the trend's in our favour right now." The official also fancies FCB's chances in Europe this term. "It would be arrogant to claim we could win the Champions League. The competition is too fierce. But I believe this team can beat anyone on a good day."

However, whether the men in red can follow up their last European triumph from 2001 would depend on "what happens in the slaughter of the knockout round." Whatever, the Dubai camp has unquestionably laid the foundations for a successful second half of the campaign.
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