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National team: Blankenhain – Munich – Berlin: 50 days to European Championship happiness

National team: Blankenhain – Munich – Berlin: 50 days to European Championship happiness

The European Championship mission begins. On Sunday, the national coach will assemble the squad in Thuringia. The group will only be complete after the Ukraine test. The team should “grow” – until the final destination.

Julian Nagelsmann had to wait a long time for this day. On Sunday, the national coach can gather a large part of the European Championship squad in Thuringia and start preparing for the home tournament with the players.

On June 14, the national football team will open the European Championship finals in Munich against Scotland. Before that, Blankenhain, Herzogenaurach, Nuremberg and Mönchengladbach are the stops. “I want to win this thing,” Nagelsmann boldly declared when announcing the 27-man squad last week – in the final venue of Berlin. Now it’s starting.

Why did you choose Blankenhain for the first training camp?

Rudi Völler was one of the initiators of the training camp in eastern Germany. There, people often feel neglected when it comes to big-time football. As was the case for the 2006 World Cup, Leipzig is the only European Championship venue in the new federal states. “We wanted to show that we all belong together,” said DFB sports director Völler at a site visit. The choice therefore also had a (sports) political component. According to Völler, the 36-year-old Nagelsmann was quickly convinced by the quarters in Weimarer Land.

What does the program look like for the five days in Thuringia?

The DFB stars will be showing their fans on the first full day of training. In Jena, the team will be training publicly in the stadium of regional league team FC Carl Zeiss on Monday (4:30 p.m.). The 15,000 free tickets have long since sold out. All other training sessions will take place on a training pitch not far from the Weimarer Land Golf Hotel, which was specially prepared for the European Championships. Manuel Neuer and co. will not have much time for the rural idyll, the golf course or the padel court built on the grounds. During the European Championships, the English team, including Bayern striker Harry Kane, will be staying in Blankenhain.

Who does Nagelsmann have to do without for the time being?

The three Leverkusen players Florian Wirtz, Jonathan Tah and Robert Andrich are arriving a little late at the training camp. On Saturday evening they will be playing in the DFB Cup final with Bayer in Berlin against 1. FC Kaiserslautern. The championship celebrations will follow in the Rhineland on Sunday. Goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen and captain Ilkay Gündogan will also be unlikely to make it to the public training session on Monday. Both will be playing the last league game with FC Barcelona against FC Sevilla in Spain on Sunday evening.

The two Dortmund players Niclas Füllkrug and Nico Schlotterbeck, as well as Toni Kroos and Antonio Rüdiger from Real Madrid, who Nagelsmann has firmly planned as regular players for the European Championship, are not coming to Thuringia at all. The quartet will be playing in the Champions League final on June 1st in Wembley. Nagelsmann will therefore definitely be able to welcome two Champions League winners to the final stretch of preparations. “It would be easier if all the players were there from the start. The training work makes that more difficult because we have to do without important players. But we will integrate them well and quickly,” said Nagelsmann.

How does the national coach react to the initially smaller training group?

The U21 national players Brajan Gruda (FSV Mainz 05) and Rocco Reitz (Borussia Mönchengladbach) will fill up the training group in Thuringia. This will enable “optimal training even in the first period of preparation,” explained Nagelsmann. An additional effect: He can “give two young, promising players the opportunity to show themselves in the A team.” After the 2024 European Championship, the 2026 World Cup will follow. The midfielders Gruda (19) and Reitz (21) can already dream.

How will the European Championship preparation continue after the training camp?

On May 31, the DFB entourage will move to Herzogenaurach to the European Championship quarters. The national players will live and train on the premises of supplier Adidas – just as they did at the last European Championship finals, when they were eliminated early in the round of 16 against England. On June 3, the national team will play a friendly against European Championship participant Ukraine in nearby Nuremberg. It is to be the comeback game of Manuel Neuer (38), who last played in the DFB goal at the botched World Cup in Qatar at the end of 2022. Four days later, the European Championship dress rehearsal will take place in Mönchengladbach against Greece. After a free weekend, the DFB squad will then meet again in Herzogenaurach for the final phase of tournament preparations until the opening game on June 14 in Munich against Scotland.

What personnel decisions does Nagelsmann still have to make?

Nagelsmann has named 23 field players and four goalkeepers in the provisional European Championship squad. The tournament squad can only include a maximum of 26 players. The national coach will therefore have to drop at least one player. Since he has decided on four goalkeepers, it will affect a field player. “The shaky candidates know that they may not be there,” said Nagelsmann. Injuries were also common during the tournament preparations.

Is a tournament formation already emerging?

Yes. Nagelsmann’s dream team for the European Championship has been decided after the successful double test against France (2:0) and the Netherlands (2:1) in March. If nothing extraordinary happens, the line-up against Scotland will be as follows: Neuer – Kimmich, Tah, Rüdiger, Mittelstädt – Andrich, Kroos – Musiala, Gündogan, Wirtz – Havertz. “We want to continue to grow in preparation,” said Nagelsmann. Ideally, the growth process will take place in 50 days from the meeting point this Sunday in Blankenhain to the European Championship final on July 14 in Berlin.

Source: Stern

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