- Leverkusen's Florida Cup 2017 opener on Sunday.
- Leno goes NBA at Magic's game.
- Baumgartlinger flying to Orlando after birth of daughter.
Bayer 04 Leverkusen's squad is swelling just in time for their opening Florida Cup 2017 fixture against Estudiantes de la Plata, and the unseasonal Florida rain on Saturday has done little to dampen the high spirits.
Karim Bellarabi is now back in full team training while Kevin Volland and Lars Bender could soon be joining in. On Sunday, Julian Baumgartlinger will link up with his teammates having been left behind to witness the birth of his daughter – all enough reason for the sun to be shining for Roger Schmidt, even if clouds covered the Orlando sky.
Spirits were already high after a night out at the basketball. Goalkeeper Bernd Leno failed to nail any of his efforts from the three-point and halfway line during the half-time show of Orlando Magic's 100-93 defeat to the Houston Rockets, and Die Werkselfwill be hoping he can keep the ball out of the net when Leverkusen face their first real test of the new year on Sunday.
The opening game of the Florida Cup is an ideal occasion for Schmidt to see if his side's efforts are paying off. "We want to show what we are all about again," said midfielder Kevin Kampl after a "shorter, but still very intense" training session.
"Above all we are a side who press well and can switch quickly after gaining possession," added the Slovenian midfielder who, like all of Bayer's stars, was met by a crowd keen on immortalising that moment when they met one of their heroes on the Bundesliga World Tour.