- Leverkusen coach delighted with Florida training camp.
- Cites return of Bellarabi as a major positive.
- Die Werkself won two of two games in Florida.
Bayer 04 Leverkusen have departed Orlando to return to Germany, having concluded a winter training camp in Florida that was thoroughly satisfying for all concerned.
Two games, two wins reads Die Werkself's friendly record in the Sunshine State after Roger Schmidt's side followed a penalty shoot-out triumph against Argentinian side Estudiantes with a Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez-inspired 1-0 win against Brazilian side, and 2013 Copa Libertadores winners, Atletico Mineiro.
A penalty shoot-out victory for VfL Wolfsburg's development squad over Bahia on Thursday ensured that Germany won the Florida Cup 2017.
Watch: Leverkusen could reflect on a productive trip to Florida:
"Every year we've been here, we've always had a good training camp," Leverkusen coach Roger Schmidt told the club's official TV channel. "I'd actually say that this time round we had the best conditions of all three years: the pitches were a little bit better. The hotel was great and the players felt very comfortable. It was a brilliant training camp, and that every player came through unscathed is a real bonus on top of that."
The return of Karim Bellarabi was another major positive to emerge from the training camp for Schmidt: the winger had been out with muscular problems since Matchday 2, but could return to face Hertha Berlin next Sunday on Matchday 17.
"Bellarabi's return was definitely a highlight," Schmidt said. "He's been out for such a long time and has worked very hard to come back in good shape. The plan was always to see how he went during this training camp and it was very important that he played a few minutes without any problems."
bundesliga.com has picked out some other highlights from Bayer's nine-day sojourn in sun…
Chicharito returns to goalscoring form in win against Mineiro
Bayer 04 Leverkusen made it two wins out of two at the Florida Cup 2017 after Chicharito scored the only goal of the game in a 1-0 win over Clube Atletico Mineiro.
Watch: Click play on the video below to see how Chicharito inspired Bayer to victory against the Brazilian giants:
Leverkusen stars light up Universal Studios
After almost a week of intense training in preparation for the season restart, Bayer 04 Leverkusen made the most of some time off to visit Universal Studios in Orlando on Monday.
Bernd Leno's efforts at the Orlando Magic
Leverkusen keeper Bernd Leno got the chance to try out his hand at shooting a few hoops on the basektball court during Orlando Magic's NBA clash with the Houston Rockets.
Watch: Click play on the video below to see how Leno got on shooting hoops stateside:
Leverkusen beat Estudiantes on penalties in Florida Cup opener
Bayer 04 Leverkusen shook off the winter cobwebs in preparation for the second half of the Bundesliga season by beating 10-man Estudiantes de La Plata 4-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in the first match at the Florida Cup 2017.
Watch: Click play on the video below to watch the highlights from Leverkusen's win against the Argentinian side:
Bellarabi 'glad to be back'
Despite having only just returned from a near-four-month spell on the sidelines with a serious adductor injury, there appears to be very little rust on the gears of Bayer 04 Leverkusen speed demon Karim Bellarabi.
The Germany international winger posted the fastest time and was the last man standing in the lactate tests at Bayer's first team session of their winter training camp in Orlando, Florida, on Tuesday - and now has his sights firmly set on regaining full match fitness as swiftly as possible.