After six days, eight punishing training sessions and two friendlies, the annual summer training camp in Trentino concluded with Friday evening's narrow 3–2 defeat to Napoli, after which the squad arrived back in Munich just before midnight feeling tired but satisfied. Even the narrow defeat to the southern Italians failed to dampen the overall positive mood.
“The players have worked very, very well, even in the heat. Their attitude was fantastic," commented boss Jupp Heynckes. “We worked our way through the program," agreed Matthias Sammer, “the coaching staff issued clear instructions, and we worked with the players as individuals. I liked that." The new board member for sport enjoyed his first training camp with the club, praising the conditions in Riva del Garda and in Arco, venue for all the workouts and matches. “We had a super hotel, excellent food, a super training ground and lots of peace and quiet," Sammer said.
In the stunning location on the north shores of Lake Garda, surrounded by imposing peaks and lush vineyards, the stars made light of temperatures up to 35°C as they worked on the fitness basics. The football itself was absent entirely from two of the sessions, although Heynckes also put his men through tactical drills. Rapid switching from defence to attack was a key focus, the coach said: “It's about immediately reacting to losing possession, taking up positions and putting your opponents under pressure."
“The training camp is perfect and the organisation first-class. You'd feel absolutely marvellous, if it wasn't for the training," grinned Tom Starke. Diego Contento voiced similar sentiments: “It hurts, but that's pre-season for you." The senior pros had nothing but praise for the seven reserves and youths who also made the trip to northern Italy. “They were very motivated and threw themselves into it, which was good for us," said Daniel van Buyten. Heynckes praised the young hopefuls as “fantastic".
New arrivals settle in fast
Summer signings Mario Mandzukic, Claudio Pizarro, Xherdan Shaqiri, Starke, Mitchell Weiser and Lukas Raeder made best use of the six days in Riva to settle in and begin the process of integrating into the club. “They’re great characters and great footballers," reported Contento.
One ever-present risk in pre-season is unwanted injury, and FCB were not spared that curse in Trentino. Heynckes tore a muscle in the first session, but gamely battled on. Youngster David Vrzogic stretched a tendon in his elbow during the 11-0 victory over a Trentino regional side and was forced to go home early. And in the Napoli clash, both David Alaba and Rafinha were forced out of the action with injury. The pair will be examined over the weekend.
Productive days in Trentino
For all that, the Trentino stay was once again a great success. The training programme and the mood in the camp could not have been better, nor was the defeat to Napoli especially problematic. “The players had to dig deep today, and that's what they did, so it was very positive," opined Heynckes, “it's better when you're really pushed. That helps us make progress."
The next appointment is on Sunday evening, when the squad - including the Germany internationals and Franck Ribéry - set off for the landmark tour of China. Arrivederci Trentino! Ni hao China!