All photos courtesy of FC Bayern
Some of the best-known names in European football are in Doha this month as players, coaches and officials from Germany’s FC Bayern Munich return for the team’s winter training camp.
A total of 29 players – including captain Philipp Lahm, forwards Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller, midfielder Xabi Alonso and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer – arrived on Wednesday evening for an intensive week of training at Aspire Academy.
So far this season, Lewandowski has already scored a total of 23 goals in 26 matches, with Müller just trailing him with 21 goals.
Fans of the team will have the chance to meet World Cup winners Müller, Lahm and Alonso when they visit the Adidas store in Villaggio mall today (Jan. 10), from 1:50pm until 2:30pm.
Joining them in training in Qatar are four players who are still hoping to make a come-back from injuries – Franck Ribéry, Mario Götze, David Alaba and Mehdi Benatia.
Meanwhile, traveling with the team are some younger players who show promise, including 17-year-olds Niklas Dorsch, Fabian Benko and Marco Friedl, 19-year-old Miloš Pantovic, and keeper Christian Früchtl, the 15-year-old member of the club’s Jugendhaus youth center.
Founded in 1900, FC Bayern is the most successful club in German football, and is currently leading the German Bundesliga by eight points.
The team has not formally issued its training schedule for their duration in Qatar.
However, the players could be spotted this week being put through the paces by renowned manager Pep Guardiola each morning and again during late afternoons and early evenings at the open-air grounds near the Grand Heritage Hotel.
Guardiola is set to leave the team at the end of the season, after announcing his decision last month. He will be replaced by Carlo Ancelotti, who previously managed Real Madrid, Paris Saint Germain, Chelsea, AC Milan and Juventus.
Though the team took to the field almost immediately after arriving, some players still found time to chat with waiting fans and pose for photographs.
— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) January 8, 2016
The club has been posting prolifically on its social media sites about the training sessions, as the team uses their week in Qatar to get into peak fitness ahead of the restart of the German Bundesliga. An away match with Hamburger SV is set for Jan. 22.
“We have to get every single player into the best possible form as soon as possible. That’s the motto from today on,” sporting director Matthias Sammer said following the team’s first two training sessions on Thursday, according to FC Bayern’s website.
This is the sixth year in a row that FC Bayern has chosen Qatar as a winter training session spot.
Sammer described Aspire Academy as having “fantastic conditions,” adding: “Fitness rooms, weight rooms, opportunities for regeneration, short distances: everything’s perfect.”
The squad will be in Qatar until Tuesday (Jan. 12), and will then return to Munich, according to the schedule on the club website.
Do you plan to watch them train? Thoughts?