Doha: Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich will begin their seven-day winter training camp here from today.
It is for the third year in a row that Germany’s biggest club will be in Qatar for their mid-season training programme.
Jupp Heynckes and his men will benefit from pleasant temperatures of approximately 20° C and the superb training facilities provided by the Aspire Academy.
“Conditions there are perfect – the climate, the hotel, the food, the practice ground. It couldn’t be better,” Heynckes has been quoted by the official website of the club fcbayern.de.
“Normally I wouldn’t be happy to fly five or six hours to a training camp, but Qatar is well worth the trip,” he added.
The Bundesliga is having a winter break from December 16 to January 18 for the Christmas and New Year season.
The Bayern stars have had 14 days for rest and recuperation during the holidays.
The likes of Dante, Luiz Gustavo and Rafinha will be coming directly from Brazil and will be joined by Arjen Robben, Manuel Neuer, Mario Gomez and Tom Starke.
The camp also marks a return to action for Robben, Gustavo and Emre Can, all sidelined by injury before Christmas.
“All three will resume the squad programme in Qatar,” Heynckes reported.
However, the coach is prepared for any or all of the trio not to complete the full schedule.
The squad in Doha will be augmented by a handful of players from the reserves and youths, namely keeper Leopold Zingerle, defender Daniel Wein, midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, and junior pro Patrick Weihrauch.
The schedule for the seven-day stay includes two workouts per day, and friendly matches against reigning Qatari champions Lekhwiya Sports Club on January 5, and Bundesliga rivals Schalke on January 8.
“We have hard work ahead of us, because in the second half of the season, we want to continue where we left off in December,” commented Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, chairman of the club.
The chairman and everyone involved understand that the seven days in Doha are crucial to the club ending a trophy drought lasting two seasons.
“We can take nothing for granted,” Rummenigge warned.
“From the very first match after the holidays, we must play focused, motivated and determined football if we’re to hit our target of becoming champions of Germany,” he added.
At the midpoint of the domestic season, Bayern comfortably lead the Bundesliga by nine points from Bayer Leverkusen, with champions Dortmund a further three points back.
Germany coach Joachim Löw cannot see the men from Munich falling short of their target: “I can’t imagine Bayern will let it slip now. They’re very dominant this season.”