Bayern Munich landed in China yesterday for their pre-season tour with the German giants already tipped to win a sixth straight Bundesliga title — five weeks before the new season starts.
Bayern touched down in Shanghai to start their tour of China and Singapore with the new German league season to start on August 18. They play Arsenal tomorrow and AC Milan on Saturday, then Chelsea on July 25 and Inter Milan on July 27. As part of their preparations, the German giants have already won their first title — beating Werder Bremen 2-0 on Saturday to win a pre-season four-team tournament in Moenchengladbach.
The Bavarians have held an iron grip on the German league title for the last five seasons — and one of their rivals has already waved the white flag for 2017/18. “I turned the television on Saturday and thought ‘well, that’s it then’ — this Bayern team is not going to be stopped. They already have the (league) title in the bag,” Martin Kind, president of newly-promoted Hanover 96, told Bild.
Germany forward Thomas Mueller, who captained Bayern in the absence of injured Manuel Neuer, scored and set up Juan Bernat’s goal in the final, but had a penalty saved. New signings Corentin Tolisso and James Rodriguez, on loan from Real Madrid, both shone in making their debuts in Bayern’s famous red shirt.
James particularly impressed on the right side of Bayern’s attack. “You could see that he was always looking to combine, he has a superb left foot and is always looking for where his teammates are,” said Mueller. Bayern’s head coach Carlo Ancelotti also heaped praise on James, who he worked with at Real in 2014/15: “In James, we have one more fantastic player.” The Colombian sees the tour of Asia as a chance to settle into Bayern’s system. “It was a good start, but I have to get fitter from day to day. The trip to Asia is a good chance for me to get used to the system,” said James.
Bayern have taken a full-strength squad to the Far East with only injured trio Neuer, Jerome Boateng and Arjen Robben staying behind. Ancelotti has also added ex-Germany and Bayern striker Miroslav Klose to his back-room staff after the all-time top-scorer in World Cup finals helped coach Germany’s forwards to the Confederation Cup title in Russia.
Bayern end bid to sign Sanchez from Arsenal
Meanwhile, Bayern Munich boss Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has confirmed they have dropped their interest in signing Arsenal striker Alexis Sanchez for next season. After head coach Ancelotti last week had his wish granted to sign James Rodriguez on loan from Real Madrid, Bayern have called off their bid to poach Chile’s hot-shot Sanchez from Arsenal.
“We are no longer involved. We have agreed with our coach that we won’t add (new players) in attack. It wouldn’t make any sense,” Bayern’s chairman Rummenigge said. Bayern had reportedly been vying with Manchester City to sign Sanchez, 28, Chile’s all-time top scorer, who has a year left on his Arsenal contract, but is stalling over extension negotiations with the Gunners.
Reports in Britain have said he could be offloaded for up to £80mn (US$103mn, 90m eurosn), but Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger suggested last week this won’t happen.
Sanchez, who at times last season cut a disgruntled figure as Arsenal struggled with form, is not on the team’s pre-season tour to Australia and China as he rests after last month’s Confederation’s Cup when Chile lost to Germany in the final.
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