MARBELLA (AP) – Total idleness under the Spanish sun was out of the question for the German football elite around triple dad Joshua Kimmich on Father’s Day – at least until the early afternoon.
At the national team training camp with partners and children in the popular holiday area around Marbella, Hansi Flick makes 26 World Cup candidates work out in the morning while training.
“We have a lot of fun together in the afternoon,” Bayern Munich professional Thomas Muller said on the penultimate day of camp in southern Spain. Then he likes to go to the golf course with a few colleagues. Others prefer to relax by the pool. Hoffenheim’s David Raum thinks it’s great that the players’ wives get to know each other. “You two get close there,” said the 24-year-old.
But Muller also emphasized: “Why we are here is the units on the field and the meetings that we do.” At the end of a long season, players are clearly looking forward to the upcoming international matches against well-known opponents such as Italy, England and Hungary.
“These will be the benchmarks for the World Cup”
“We don’t want to work only through the Nations League,” Muller declared: “We want to be successful, and win these prestigious duels. That will be an indicator of the World Cup.”
Flick rated the active short break a day before the end and a free weekend later for the two players until they met again on Monday in Herzogenaurach as a “good relationship”. The representatives were praised for their commitment. “If you see how we work, you can see that there is a high level of professionalism. The days were good for us because it is a serious transition between the season and the Nations League,” said the German FA coach.
Training is intense and dangerous, even if fun items are always thrown at the beginning of units. On Thursday, players shot each other with big, colorful balls during a warm-up. There was a lot of laughter.
Drone records every game sequence
Then the football stuff is done in a very focused way. Flick’s commands echoed loudly through the grass. A camera drone flying high above the field records each game sequence. Then they are discussed in group meetings in the team hotel.
Flick was already a pro at Bayern Munich in creating the title atmosphere within the team. He always hugs the players during training. He has a lot of conversations. On Thursday, after the session, he sat for a long time with Ilkay Gundogan in the small stands and spoke with the Manchester City champion.
Flick gives confidence – but it also requires. “I’ve made it very clear to the players: If we’re on the field when we have a meeting, they have to be there 100 per cent. The players have a lot of responsibility for what they bring to the pitch at the end,” Flick explained. He wants to reach the World Cup final.
Everything is clear in Goretzka
Leon Goretzka was absent from the training ground on Thursday. But Flick was able to explain everything. The Bayern Munich player twisted his ankle in a duel the day before: “But everything is stable.”
The four Nations League matches over ten days will show players what to expect in the World Cup season. For the first time, the world champion is decided mid-season, which is new for veterans such as Manuel Neuer (36) or Thomas Muller (32). The big question is: Will the players participate in a mid-season tournament more fit and energetic than they would in the finals at the end of a grueling season?
“You’ll see,” Neuer replied. “You can’t say that now.” The goalkeeper already sees the risk of overburdening when the World Cup kicks off on November 21: “I think the program is very full. There are only English weeks for teams playing internationally.”
For example, Bayern Munich professionals can expect up to 26 competitive matches within 15 weeks from the end of July to mid-November. This could lead to injuries and failures in the World Cup. “It will be important for all the teams that the players are also ready for the tournament,” Neuer commented.
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