On the eve of France-Germany, and for the last Euro of Joachim Löw, everything is done to recall the good memories of the victorious 2014 World Cup. The coach even recalled two world champions, Thomas Müller and Mats Hummels.
Herzogenaurach is just a languid little town in the Franconian countryside, near Nuremberg. However, it accommodates the seats of two of the biggest sports brands in the world. Adidas and Puma have been waging an internal battle for more than 70 years in this city 200 kilometers north of Munich: the two firms were founded by two rival brothers. But the brand with the three bands struck a big blow there by building its “World of Sports” for nearly a billion euros: a campus of 59 hectares, modern offices and multiple sports grounds in free access. This summer, Adidas also receives distinguished guests: the German selection, which has chosen the cradle of its equipment supplier as base camp for the Euro.
The brand therefore built the “Home Ground” for the Mannschaft, around fifteen small wooden houses. “The base camp can play a decisive role in a competition,” said Oliver Bierhoff, sports director of the German Federation. Lukas Klostermann, defender of Leipzig, said more about the organization on Sunday: “The chalets have four bedrooms. So we are four players to live together. But we have a living room, a common living room. for all the players, around the pool, which can be enjoyed in the afternoon. ” A place where a giant screen also broadcasts Euro matches.
“The big problem in Russia in 2018 was where they lived”
For those who followed Germany to the 2014 World Cup, with a coronation at the end, this Bavarian base camp is singularly like the Campo Bahia occupied by the Mannschaft for more than a month. “They want to try to find the sensations of Brazil, where the common life played a small role in the final victory, because it is in particular there that a team spirit was forged”, explains Uli Köhler, reporter for Sky Sport News. “The big problem in Russia in 2018 was where they lived: a hotel to entertain soldiers, 50 kilometers from Moscow, in the middle of nowhere. Gray everywhere… It was depressing for everyone. , that’s something else: I even see them playing tennis from my hotel room! ”
His counterpart from Magenta Sport, Anett Sattler, abounds: “The layout of the whole, the small houses, the activities they can do here (swimming pool, padel tennis, beach volleyball), it creates an atmosphere in a group . But that remains only one aspect: victory or defeat, it is provoked on the ground. ” And the Germans start with a hell of a piece, the French team world champion.
“Radio-Müller” is broadcasting again
In the current German team, only 5 2014 world champions remain: Manuel Neuer, Matthias Ginter, Toni Kroos, Mats Hummels and Thomas Müller. The last two cities were recalled at the last minute by Joachim Löw, after more than 2 years without selection. The 2018 World Cup fiasco had led the coach to bet on the young generation to rebuild. Failed bet, the slap received in Spain (6-0 in November 2020), and the defeat at home against North Macedonia (1-2, last March), pushed him to change his mind. A decision that is unanimous among the followers of the Mannschaft. “It’s a good decision”, judge Anett Sattler, reporter for Magenta Sport, one of the TV broadcasters of the Euro in Germany. “Hummels and Müller were missing during their absence. The team lacked leaders, they are back! Looking at the practices, it is easy to see their leading role. They spread in this group a state of mind and requirements for be a selection player. ”
The Bayern Munich striker in particular is the one who makes his voice heard, always screaming or teasing his teammates. “They call him ‘Radio-Müller'” said Uli Köhler of Sky Sport News. “He talks all the time, on the pitch, at base camp, and the team needs that. On the pitch, he is at the center of the team, in his offensive and defensive movements. It’s very smart. on Löw’s part to bring back experience among these young players. The intermingling of generations is certainly the secret. “
Herzogenaurach is certainly not in Brazil, although the weather in recent days in Bavaria could make it doubtful. And the Mannschaft of 2021 no longer has much to do with that of 7 years ago, but Joachim Löw, for his last dance, tries to create a final version of his winning recipe.