After easing into the Portuguese Algarve with a single training session following their arrival yesterday, VfL Wolfsburg head coach Bruno Labbadia wasted little time in increasing the intensity on the Wolves' first full day at their winter base in Almancil. The Green-Whites did pre-breakfast stabilisation exercises at 7:30am in the team hotel in what was the first of the day's three sessions. The other two took place out on the training pitches, where Labbadia and his coaching staff are looking to fine-tune preparations for the second half of the season. With that in mind, the first friendly game of the year is already on the horizon as the Wolves are set to take on Dutch top-flight outfit Vitesse Arnhem in Albufeira on Sunday 6 January (kick-off 16:30 CET).
Chance for youngsters
Youngsters Gian-Luca Itter, Elvis Rexhbecaj and John Yeboah, who all featured in the Bundesliga last year, are with the first-team squad in Almancil, giving them a chance to make a name for themselves and to continue their footballing development. "The coach helps me improve certain things," said Yeboah after the morning session. "The same goes for my team-mates and the assistant coaches like Eddy Sözer. Today, for example, Maximilian Arnold supported me a lot and helped me understand some things out on the pitch. We played on the same team for a long time and were next to each other in terms of our positions."
Break for Weghorst
Dutch striker Wout Weghorst, who found the net six times in the Bundesliga prior to the winter break, was forced to sit out the afternoon training session after going over on his ankle in the morning and instead underwent an individual programme in the gym as a precaution. Meanwhile, his team-mates were initially put through their paces with passing drills before splitting into small teams and playing matches on reduced-size pitches, which produced numerous excellent attacking moves, swift interplay and eye-catching goals. The day was rounded off with sprints on the hills surrounding the training complex.