20.05.2008: First days in Mallorca

German Football
By German Football May 22, 2008 18:27

20.05.2008: First days in Mallorca

Drizzle and unseasonably cold temperatures around 16 degrees Celsius greeted Joachim Löw and his players as the German team arrived on Mallorca. The plane landed at 5.32 P.M. on Monday. It marked the beginning of the final countdown for the EURO 2008. In 19 days, Germany will be facing Poland in their tournament opener.

“It’s about time. I look forward to practicing with my players. Hopefully we can get through this final preparation phase without any injuries”, said Löw on Monday.

The team headed for the Mallorca team hotel, the Arabella Sheraton Golf, where eight camera teams and roughly 50 fans eagerly awaited their arrival. Hotel personnel lined-up in a cordon, while a huge welcome sign greeted the 24 players. Löw has nominated 26 players, with Christoph Metzelder (Real Madrid) and Michael Ballack (Chelsea) expected to join the team later. The team will stay on the Balearic island until May 30.

Rest and relaxation is Löw’s priority for the first few days. Following a demanding season, players should first focus on getting adequate rest. Many German national players were joined by their wives and girlfriends for the initial phase of camp. “Starting end of the week, we’ll start practicing twice a day. Players should expect long days. Even though we give them a moment to catch their breath first, we have no time to waste.”

Every minute of the preparation leading up to the June 8 match against Poland in Klagenfurt has been meticulously planned. The operational manual alone covers 103 pages. Even the salt content of the swimming pool has been checked and modified.

Time is of the essence, as the team has five days less to get into shape compared to the 2006 FIFA World Cup. “We had to tighten the agenda”, said the team’s manager Oliver Bierhoff. The team will practice in the Estadio Son Moix, usually the home turf for Real Mallorca. Practice fields were prepared days ago. Recreational areas have been set-up in the hotel, so that players can get together in their off hours, instead of spending the entire leisure time in their own rooms. “Conditions are superb”, said Löw, who has nominated two debutants for the preliminary roster. 19-year old Marko Marin (Borussia Mönchengladbach) and Bayer Leverkusen’s René Adler have not played for Germany before.

Each player received an individualized practice agenda at their arrival. Löw also stressed some rules of behavior, such as “discipline, respect, punctuality and a communicative attitude”. “We want players that are leaders, that take responsibility, who can admit that they made a mistake and who show comradeship even in the face of failure.”

German Football
By German Football May 22, 2008 18:27
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