Claudio Pizarro (r.) celebrates one of his two goals against Qatari champions Lekhwiya SC with Xherdan Shaqiri (2nd r.)
Claudio Pizarro (r.) celebrates one of his two goals against Qatari champions Lekhwiya SC with Xherdan Shaqiri (2nd r.)

No change as Bayern kick-off with a win

Munich - There’s no let up in FC Bayern Munich’s chase for their 22nd Bundesliga title, as the record German champions made clear on Saturday when they kicked off the new year with a comprehensive 4-0 victory over Qatari champions Lekhwiya SC in their Doha training camp.

”Very intensive”

Jupp Heynckes fielded a starting eleven that could well reflect the one he chooses for the Bundesliga restart at home to Greuther Fürth on 19 January. However, the fact that after the break, when the 67-year-old replaced all ten outfield players, leaving only goalkeeper to play the full 90 minutes, Bayern looked much livelier, adds to the impression that competition for first-team action is fierce among the Reds.

“It's very intensive here," said Germany midfielder . "You see how everyone is really getting stuck in. But that's how it has to be, and we'll keep it up the whole week." Competition is particularly fierce in attack, with internationals such as Peru’s , who struck a brace, and Dutchman , who came off the bench on his comeback from injury, both impressing.

An additional weapon in Bayern's forward armoury, , has watched much of Bayern’s first half of the season from the sidelines, although he has appeared in almost 80 per cent of their competitive games since joining from FC Basel at the beginning of the campaign. Nevertheless, the stocky midfielder rates his first months in Bavaria a success. “You could see that I’m able to help the team,” said the 21-year-old Swiss international, adding that his goal for the rest of the campaign would be “to gain more playing time." He added: "I’m aware, though, that we have a very strong squad.”

Shaqiri happy at Bayern

Despite his limited action, Shaqiri also stressed his pleasure at playing for the four-time European champions: “I feel happy and satisfied at FC Bayern, both on and off the pitch. This is the perfect club for me.”

At the midway stage of Bayern's one-week Doha training camp, where the focus has been on reclaiming the Bundesliga title, the mood in the squad is optimistic. “It's not a dream, it's a realistic goal," stated Kroos. “We've put ourselves in a very good position. We don't want to carelessly give it away again. We want to maintain the determination which was our hallmark in the first half of the season."

Gomez fit for Schalke test

Meanwhile, striker has returned to team training after missing the last two days due to ankle problems. “He’s been doing a great job,” said Heynckes, praising the 27-year-old’s efforts in individual training. Gomez is expected to be available for Tuesday’s friendly, when Bayern face their Bundesliga arch rivals Schalke 04 for their next serious test.

Felix Seaman-Höschele