Trentino - The FC Bayern Munich players arrived in Trentino, northern Italy, on Thursday afternoon, itching to get down to the nitty gritty of pre-season training.
Head coach Pep Guardiola kicked off the week-long sojourn by outlining some of his plans for the season ahead, in what proved yet another slick performance in front of the assembled media.
"I like the ball," he said. "I like it when my team has the ball. I don't like it when the opposition has possession." Simple as that may sound, it is a philosophy developed with the wants and wishes of the paying public in mind. "I respect the fans. Not just the Bayern fans, but all fans of the Bundesliga," he added.
The Santpedor strategist's off-field demeanour, command of the German language and connection with the players have all caught the eye during his first week in charge, but Guardiola himself has been just as impressed with the attitude and general quality of the Bayern dressing room. "Bayern have very, very, very, very, very intelligent players," he emphasised. "They've reached the Champions League final three times in the last four years. What more can you say?"
"A top player"
Actually, a lot more. Guardiola is still to welcome back a select few of Bayern's treble-winning cast, including 2013 UEFA Champions League final hero Arjen Robben, whom the former FC Barcelona coach holds in high esteem. "He's a top, top player," Guardiola enthused.
Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mario Götze and Holger Badstuber, meanwhile, have all travelled with the squad despite their recent injury troubles. As to where they and the likes of Robben and Mario Gomez might fit in, Guardiola warned: "We can play with conventional strikers and with false nines. The system I choose will also depend on the players' fitness levels."