Bayern Munich began their six-day winter training camp in Qatar on Friday, jetting off from the Bavarian capital to Doha, where they will continue preparations for the second half of the Bundesliga season.
Head coach Julian Nagelsmann took 21 players with him, including new signing Daley Blind, but injured stars Manuel Neuer, Sadio Mane and Lucas Hernandez did not make the trip. Instead, they will continue their recoveries in Munich. Noussair Mazraoui, a 2022 World Cup semi-finalist with Morocco, was also not on board due to illness.
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On day one, Bayern landed in Doha shortly after 14:00 CET and got straight down to business after arriving at the team hotel, heading straight out to the training pitches – despite the rain – to shake out any stiff limbs from the five-hour flight in a 75-minute session.
They were immediately back on the pitch by Saturday morning, before Blind was introduced to media, saying: "I have to be ready to help the team when they need me. I know I might not be the first name on the team sheet, but I'll fight hard to play and give my all to help my teammates when I do."
The record Bundesliga champions will remain in Qatar until 12 January before playing a friendly against Red Bull Salzburg back in Germany the following day. The kick-off the resumption of league action away to RB Leipzig in the Matchday 16 opener on 20 January.
"The first match against Leipzig is obviously an important one to start with, in which we can set the tone," Nagelsmann said on day 2 in Doha, discussing Bayern's chief rivals for the title.
"It's down to us to shape our games so that we stay where we are currently. We'll have to see from game to game. You have to include Freiburg, they've been doing very well for years. It's about winning our games. If we win all of them, we'll be champions."
Bayern's squad in Doha:
Goalkeepers: Sven Ulreich, Johannes Schenk, Tom Ritzy Hülsmann
Defenders: Daley Blind, Tarek Buchmann, Alphonso Davies, Matthijs De Ligt, Benjamin Pavard, Josip Stanisic, Dayot Upamecano
Midfielders: Leon Goretzka, Joshua Kimmich, Jamal Musiala, Paul Wanner, Lovro Zvonarek, Ryan Gravenberch, Arijon Ibrahimovic, Marcel Sabitzer
Forwards: Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Kingsley Coman, Serge Gnabry, Yusuf Kabadayi, Thomas Müller, Leroy Sane, Mathys Tel
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