Munich - The end of the festive hiatus has done nothing to dampen spirits in the FC Bayern Munich camp and the league leaders are now getting back into full working mode at their intensive week-long training camp in Doha.
"Determined to win the league"
Nine points clear of their closest pursuers ahead of the much-anticipated Bundesliga restart on the weekend beginning 18 January, Bayern have every reason to be brimming over with self-confidence and head coach Jupp Heynckes exemplified the current mood at a press conference in the Qatari capital on Thursday.
"FC Bayern have never before played such modern and attractive football," the 67-year-old tactician enthused: "Bayern have always had great teams and a lot of success, but the dedication, discipline, organisation and forward play of this side make for something special." In the light of all of which, naturally enough, "We're incredibly determined to win the league this season."
13 victories in 17 league matches, 44 goals scored and just seven conceded speak volumes for that determination on the part of the Bundesliga record champions, who have dusted themselves down in some style after two seasons which saw them come off second- or indeed third-best to Borussia Dortmund in the race for the top domestic prize.
"Sense of togetherness"
The recipe for Bayern's trailblazing first half of the season comprises a number of elements - one of which goalkeeper sees as "a real sense of togetherness." And, the Germany number 1 stressed, "we fully intend to keep pulling in the same direction."
On top of that, as sporting director Matthias Sammer put it, "I see intensity and focus... This is no time to be sitting back and protecting what we already have. It's time to push on."
Full steam ahead
Accordingly, there will be no let-up over the coming days under the Doha sun, where the Bayern players have a programme featuring up to three daily training sessions.
Dante, Luiz Gustavo and Rafinha all arrived late on Wednesday directly from their native Brazil and with Arjen Robben and Emre Can also back in training, Heynckes has virtually a full squad at his disposal, long-term absentee Holger Badstuber aside: an ominous sign for the chasing pack as Bayern look to maintain their ferocious tempo in pursuit of a 23rd league title.