Cape Town - After touching down in Cape Town on Monday, VfL Wolfsburg have begun their preparations for the 2014/15 Rückrunde in earnest.
'The right decision'
The Wolves ended the calendar year second in the table, but will be thrown straight in at the deep end when the Bundesliga season resumes at the end of January when they entertain runaway league leaders FC Bayern München on Matchday 18.
The team's arrival in the rainbow nation had been delayed after the death of Junior Malanda, who lost his life in a car accident on Saturday at the age of 20. Despite the tragedy, the tour went ahead as planned. "It wasn't an easy decision but we feel it's certainly the right one, and it's what Junior would have wanted," said sporting director Klaus Allofs before departure.
Once settled at the Vineyard Hotel in the district of Newlands, Allofs and coach Dieter Hecking held another press conference with the media, thanking the journalists for their sympathies in the wake of Malanda's passing, before the players took to the training pitch at the Athlone Stadium.
There, they observed a minute's silence in memory of the young Belgian. "It was the wish of the team to come together again for a few moments before we got started," said Allofs. Wolfsburg play their first friendly of the tour on Wednesday against local top-flight side Ajax Cape Town.
Guilavogui to have surgery
Meanwhile, Wolfsburg confirmed on Tuesday that midfielder Josuha Guilavogui will be out for around three weeks. The 24-year-old, who did not travel with the squad to Cape Town, is set to undergo an operation in Berlin on Wednesday and is expected to be out of action for three to four weeks.