10.07.2018Bayer 04

Happy Werkself reach BayArena finishing line

Home and dry! Led by Lukas Hradecky, Wendell and Kai Havertz, the visibly relieved Werkself pros trundled into the BayArena at 14.00 CET. At that point, the Bayer 04 group had completed a three-day mountain bike tour from Bad Bertrich to Leverkusen covering a distance of 230 kilometres with a difference in height of 1,800 metres.

"Hats off to everybody. We had a common target and we've done it," said head coach Heiko Herrlich Following the arrival in the underground car park at the BayArena. The first leg that took the Black and Reds 90 kilometres along the Moselle to Koblenz on Sunday, was followed on Monday by a stage along the Rhine to Bonn (85 kilometres) and the final stretch on Tuesday morning from the former capital of West Germany to the BayArena covering 54 kilometres. "Perhaps it wasn't too strenuous for those members of the squad who are used to riding mountain bikes but many others had to push themselves to their limits – It was a completely new experience to be on a bike for so long," said Herrlich.

Promoting group dynamic

In addition to working on basic stamina the bike ride also helped improve the group dynamic in the team: "With such an unfamiliar workload you not only have to keep pushing yourself inwardly but also as a group as its very difficult on your own," explained the 46 year-old football coach.


Post arrival: Team photo at the BayArena with tour guides

And the skipper Lars Bender also enthusiastic about the 'Tour de Werkself' as a way to start the pre-season: "Activities like that are obviously great for integrating new players: if you spend a couple of hours together on bikes and travel in a six or seven man group in single file You need a lot of confidence. At the end of the day, you have to be able to rely on the man in front - that he travels a decent pace, gives you the right signals and that helps build confidence."  The 'mountain trial'on Monday which involve the Team Werkself conquering one of the local vineyards Suited the 29-year-old defensive all-rounder down to the ground: "when you have to climb a mountain like that and rather teammates are pushing you from the top then that helps to promote sense of community. It was definitely very good."

Two days off

The Herrlich charges have two days off on Wednesday and Thursday and that gives them a chance to recover from their "pains in their backsides and thighs" as Lars Bender reported. The next stage of the pre-season follows on Friday (16.00 CET), Saturday (10.30 CET and 16.00 CET) and Sunday (10.30 CET) on the training ground. Jonathan Tah, Julian Baumgartlinger and Aleksandar Dragovic are set to join the rest of the squad  following their international commitments that led them to have an additional week's holiday.

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