Doha - FC Bayern München forward made the most of a welcome afternoon off at the club's winter training camp in Doha on Wednesday.
The 25-year-old enjoyed a round of golf with team-mates Bastian Schweinsteiger and Pepe Reina, before reflecting on the Bundesliga leaders' on-going preparations for the second half of the season.
'It's been intense'
"Even on an afternoon off, it's still all about the ball," he joked whilst working on his handicap in the Qatari capital. "I'm not good enough to make it as a pro, but it was a lot of fun […] After five days you start to feel it, the muscles tighten up. Pep Guardiola gives your head so much to do, and I'm not talking about heading practice. It's been intense." Behind the scenes, Bavarian native Müller has a reputation as being Bayern's happy-go-lucky joker in the pack. His post-match quips are the stuff of legend, but the World Cup winner is the model of commitment when it comes to honing his own undeniably distinctive game, as well as pushing collective boundaries for his boyhood club on the pitch.
'Good to be back'
"There's room for improvement," he explained. "It's about being more secure and giving away less in front of our own goal whilst scoring simpler goals. It's going to get really interesting around March-April time. That's when we've got games in the DFB Cup and [UEFA] Champions League, it's the nitty gritty." As ever, the 2013/14 double winners will be well equipped to challenge on three fronts as and when the fixture list begins to hot up, not least following David Alaba's long-awaited return to first-team training after knee surgery. "When you're out for two months, you really notice how much you miss it," recalled the Austrian international. "It feels good to be back."
Reason to celebrate
Alaba spent the afternoon on Wednesday exploring the locality with good friends Franck Ribery and 20-year-old Mitchell Weiser, who grabbed a brace in Bayern's 4-1 win over the Qatar Stars earlier in the week. The trio indulged in a bit of retail therapy, but above all else "had a good laugh". The genial camaraderie was on show once again when the players reconvened for training on Thursday, this time toasting the birth of back-up goalkeeper Reina's fifth child. The Spaniard has been blighted by injury these past few months, but 2015 could hardly have got off to more positive start for the fit-again patriarch.