Guardiola 'really enthusiastic' about US trip
Bayern launched their preparations for the new season some two weeks ago and the numbers in daily training at the Säbener Strasse HQ are steadily going up. Franck Ribéry and Claudio Pizarro have worked their way back from injury and completed the squad programme without any problems on Tuesday, and they were joined by Javi Martínez, the first of the club’s World Cup participants to resume training in Munich.
It all means boss Pep Guardiola will be able to field a strong squad for the Telekom Cup in Hamburg this weekend, although the 43-year-old will not name his final roster until later in the week, as it will depend on the stars’ progress in training and each individual’s fitness level at this early stage of pre-season.
The group will be augmented next Monday by Xherdan Shaqiri and Julian Green, the next of the club’s internationals to complete their obligatory three-week vacation after the World Cup. It means the pair return nicely on time to travel with the rest of the players to the Audi Summer Tour USA 2014 two days later. “We’re really enthusiastic about our tour of the USA. It’s a huge country and we’re really looking forward to it,” Guardiola commented in the build-up to the nine-day tour.
The itinerary includes numerous training sessions, PR opportunities and sponsor appointments, and two prestigious friendly matches: the meeting with Mexican cracks Chivas Guadalajara at 2 am CET on 1 August in New York, and the Major League Soccer All-Star game at 3.30 am CET in Portland six days later. “Both games will be good tests for my team,” commented Guardiola.
World Cup winners due in Portland
The Spaniard is particularly looking forward to the clash with Chivas, as the coach himself appeared in the Mexican top flight in the twilight of his playing career. “Mexican football is very good and we’ll need an excellent performance. Mexican teams are extremely good on the ball, with lots of small, fast and dynamic players, so we’ll need to be as well-prepared as we can for their style of play. It’s still early in pre-season so obviously every match like this is important.”
For the meeting with Chivas, Guardiola will be able to call on summer signings Robert Lewandowski, Sebastian Rode and Juan Bernat, who all took up pre-season training from the first official day on 9 July. A total of 14 members of the first team squad, including World Cup participants Martínez, Shaqiri and Green, will feature in the USA touring party from the start. The roster will be augmented by selected players from the FC Bayern II reserves and the U-19 youths.
The club’s six German World Cup winners - Manuel Neuer, Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinteiger, Jérôme Boateng, Thomas Müller and Mario Götze - plus semi-finalists Arjen Robben and Dante will join the squad in the course of the five-day stay in Portland.