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Football | Germany

Bayern jet off with title 'already in the bag'



Bayern Munich landed in China on Monday 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 Friday August 18.

They play Arsenal Wednesday 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 German daily 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 Confed Cup title in Russia.



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