Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski has returned to first-team training, while Arturo Vidal, James Rodriguez and Rafinha have all linked up with the Bundesliga leaders at their winter camp in Doha.
The South American trio joined up after their extended Christmas break to complete the 25-man travelling party in sunny Qatar, where Bayern are continuing their preparations for the second half of the season.
Lewandowski has been troubled by a kneecap problem and is being eased back into action ahead of a friendly against local side Al-Ahli on Saturday. On day three of Bayern’s training camp, the 29-year-old took part in the warm-up with his colleagues before training individually.
The Polish international is the league’s leading scorer with 15 goals in 17 matches this season but his workload should be helped by the signing of Sandro Wagner from Hoffenheim. Lewandowski praised Wagner’s hold-up play and feels the arrival of another forward will make his life a lot easier.
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“I think he can help us,” Lewandowski told Bayern’s official TV channel. “Most Bundesliga teams play a very defensive game so you always have to try and find small gaps. If Sandro is there, the opposition defence will also have to concentrate on him so I’ll probably have more space.”
Lewandowski said that the break from playing matches every three days has allowed Bayern to analyse what areas they need to work on ahead of their next Bundesliga game at Bayer Leverkusen on Matchday 18. But he is also using the extra time the German champions have on their winter break to try and improve his own game even more.
“There’s no striker in the world who doesn’t have to work on anything anymore. I also have to get better,” Lewandowski said.
“In the last while I’ve been working on my left foot a lot. And I have to get better at shooting from long range and to try it more often.
“You have to work on everything systematically. As a forward you have to be flexible and always be ready on the pitch. It doesn’t matter if you score with your shoulder or your hip – a goal is a goal.”
Meanwhile, Joshua Kimmich was not involved on day three of Bayern’s training camp after picking up a cold. Sven Ulreich took part in passing exercises with the team but, after spraining a finger earlier in the week, he is waiting for swelling to go down before returning to more specific goalkeeping work. Mats Hummels sat out the session as he continues to nurse an adductor problem.