FC Bayern München captain Philipp Lahm has witnessed many changes to training methods down the years, but one aspect that has remained constant is the record German champions' will to improve.
As has become tradition, Bayern are currently stationed in Doha, where preparations for the second half of the 2015/16 campaign are in full swing.
'Fitness a priority'
"Times have changed, simple as that," Lahm told club website fcbayern.de. "I wouldn’t say it was worse in the past, it was just different. Fitness remains a priority, although as a player you’re always more comfortable with the ball at your feet."
Bayern all-rounder David Alaba can attest to that, not that the Austrian international looked anything other than happy to be back on the training pitches following injury. Like French winger Franck Ribery and Moroccan defender Medhi Benatia, he is slowly building his way back up to full fitness with a range of cardiovascular workouts.
Alaba's morning in Doha: Quick solo sprint, then sit back and watch his teammates sweat. Always in a good mood 😉 pic.twitter.com/DWBothXcGR— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) January 7, 2016
With Bayern sitting pretty at the top of the Bundesliga standings, knockout ties in the UEFA Champions League and DFB Cup on the horizon and a handful of first-team regulars stepping up their rehabilitation programmes, the Bavarians' Rückrunde prospects look promising to say the least.
Lahm was, however, keen to stress that nothing has been won yet: "We’ve laid solid foundations, but you always have to take the season as a whole. You can always fine-tune and improve, and that’s what we’re working on. We have to win trophies."
Rest and relaxation
Mid-season getaways are nevertheless as much about reaching peak physical condition as they are team bonding, and it is this best-of-both-worlds approach that makes the experience all the more enjoyable for Lahm, a veteran of the training camp circuit on what is "approximately" his 22nd excursion as a Bayern player.
"I’ve brought a couple of books with me and I watch movies, although we often end up gathering around the physio sessions," Germany's 2014 FIFA World Cup-winning skipper explained. "That’s always the ultimate meeting place at a training camp with lots of the guys, plenty of entertainment and massage as well. What could be better?"