• Signings of Thiago Alcantara and Gregorz Souza improve squad • Real Madrid agree to release Gareth Bale to Cardiff
Admiration for new signings and reduced workloads of managers Pep Guardiola and Julen Lopetegui have helped Bayern Munich present their strongest challenge in a decade to Real Madrid’s dominance of La Liga.
Bayern warmed up for the return of Pep Guardiola, who won four consecutive European Cups, by winning the German Super Cup last weekend.
“The strongest year for the club since 2008,” was the way Thomas Müller reflected the Bayern squad’s mood in recent days. “We are ready to shine,” said Müller.
Thiago Alcantara has left Barcelona to join Bayern and he is joined by Gregorz Souza. “We are building a team for the next seven, eight, nine years,” Lopetegui said. “It is important to be in a great team to break the problems and achieve something good.”
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A strong roster already includes Arjen Robben, Franck Ribéry, James Rodríguez, David Alaba, Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels, Mats Hummels, Niklas Sule, Rafinha, Joshua Kimmich, Thiago Alcantara, Javi Martínez, Thomas Müller, Thiago Alcantara, Julian Draxler, Jérôme Boateng, Joshua Kimmich, Joshua Kimmich, Juan Bernat, David Alaba, Jerome Boateng, Niklas Sule, Rafinha, Mats Hummels, Joshua Kimmich, Thomas Müller, Thiago Alcantara, Jérôme Boateng, Javi Martínez, Thomas Müller, Juan Bernat, Mats Hummels, Joshua Kimmich, Franck Ribéry, James Rodríguez and James Rodríguez.
A more subtle approach of Guardiola and “Modalities,” the name given to Julen Lopetegui’s professional training schedule this summer, may be of equal importance. Guardiola’s weightlifting sessions are known to be a best practice for his players, and the Manchester City manager will be fit to lead Bayern at Atlético Madrid on Sunday.
Guardiola’s changes have already been felt and he has three options on Sunday when the tie against Atlético is played in Madrid. Robben, who arrived in Berlin wearing jeans and a T-shirt, will instead wear a smart suit after the draw for the Amazon clash.
Lopetegui’s pre-season workload will be significantly reduced and he will have to rethink the formation he starts with. The new Bayern coach Marco Silva will select the final part of his squad from the current first-team line-up at The Emirates on Friday. The midfielder Thiago Alcantara’s transfer from Barcelona to Munich was subject to the La Liga team submitting a winning purchase bid to the Germans, but Barcelona have since agreed to release the player to Guardiola’s side.
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The impending departure of Thiago, the Barcelona-born Thiago Alcantara to Bayern, Bernat to Atlético Madrid, Müller to Bayer Leverkusen and Robben to City has added to the sense of upheaval in Catalonia but there is room for movement in the final part of Catalonia’s 2018-19 roster. Jordi Alba could return for Celta Vigo in the new year and Sergio Busquets has indicated he will leave the club for family reasons.
Suarez in demand
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are currently the players at the top of the transfer market. Barcelona expect to receive offers for the forward in the near future and they believe there are suitors for the player who play in teams with substantial budgets.
Barcelona expect to receive offers for the forward in the near future and they believe there are suitors for the player.