Munich - Given the abundance of diversions available in the Bavarian capital on a beautiful summer's day with temperatures soaring to 30 degrees Celsius, Tuesday afternoon's official public presentation of the 2013/14 FC Bayern Munich team served to underline once again the rare pulling power exerted by the current European champions and German domestic double holders.
Pep and Thiago the fans' favourites
Close-on 40,000 Bayern faithful flocked to the Allianz Arena to get a first comprehensive look at how their team are shaping up and the unequivocal message they were given in return was that, despite the club having just experienced its most successful-ever campaign, there is more on the way.
“I'm in no doubt that we'll be able to present a bit more silverware when we meet again in a year's time,” CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told the fans, the three latest trophies nicely lined up behind him. “By bringing in Thiago Alcantara, Mario Götze and Jan Kirchhoff, we've further strengthened our squad. And we've gained a marvellous coach.”
Bayern's two Spanish summer recruits very much took centre stage at Tuesday's event. As the coaching staff and players were all individually presented to the crowd on the Arena's immaculate playing surface, no-one got a bigger cheer than new head coach Pep Guardiola and midfield starlet Thiago. The subsequent training session was concluded with an eleven-a-side practice match, with a passionate Guardiola evidently taking it anything but lightly. The same went for the players, Thiago putting in a formidable display in the short contest which was decided by Claudio Pizarro's goal.
“Proud to be here”
Having already impressed in his first two appearances for Bayern in the Telekom Cup following his transfer from FC Barcelona, whom Bayern incidentally take on in the Uli-Hoeneß-Cup today (Wednesday), Thiago hinted that settling in immediately has been key to his good early form: “I've had an amazing first week here. I didn't quite expect the city to be so beautiful or things to work out so smoothly.”
At any rate, the first public outing at his new home ground is likely to remain a long-lasting memory for the versatile 22-year-old Spain international. “Today was very special, the Allianz Arena is an amazing stadium,” he said, “and the fans received us with open arms. I'm very proud to be here.”
Felix Seaman-Höschele at the Allianz Arena