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National team: Training in front of 15,000 fans: Nagelsmann reveals European Championship daydreams

National team: Training in front of 15,000 fans: Nagelsmann reveals European Championship daydreams

Public training, a family celebration, the Federal President, the SEK and national players at the Blankenhain food bank: the DFB days in the Thuringian idyll are varied. And the European Championship goal has been formulated.

Julian Nagelsmann liked this spirit of optimism. Black, red and gold flags and cheering fans – at the public training in Jena, there was already a hint of the summer feeling that the national football team is supposed to carry through the European Championships at home.

“We are happy to be here. We are happy that it is starting,” DFB sports director Rudi Völler called out to the 15,000 lucky fans who had managed to get a free ticket for the public training session in the Carl Zeiss Jena stadium. To the sound of the cult song “Major Tom”, the DFB players, led by tournament veteran Thomas Müller, ran onto the stadium lawn a little late and began their training program.

A few hours earlier, Nagelsmann had opened the German European Championship mission in Blankenhain Castle. And not in a smart suit, but in his training kit. With his choice of clothing, the fashion-conscious national coach from Weimar sent a clear message to the football nation. For tournament newcomer Nagelsmann, who is bursting with energy, the coming weeks will be all about hard work, which should ideally be crowned in the big European Championship final on July 14 in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium.

“I’m looking forward to training,” said the 36-year-old. At the start of preparations for the home tournament, Nagelsmann also chatted in a good mood about his first night in the posh team quarters in Blankenheim. He slept well in the soft duvet. “And now they want to hear that I dreamed of winning the European Championship,” said Nagelsmann with a grin, before adding: “I have a lot of daydreams that also have to do with winning the European Championship.”

Agreement on the European Championship goal: “Of course the maximum”

Thinking big is what former Bayern coach Nagelsmann is all about. And on the podium in the DFB media center, Völler seconded this: “We want to be part of the group of teams that want to be there until the end of the tournament. If it’s Berlin, then all the better.” A few minutes earlier, DFB President Bernd Neuendorf had already said at the same venue that “of course the maximum” was the goal for the home tournament. “We want to achieve that – with the spectators behind us,” said Neuendorf.

However, a major tournament can never be thought of backwards. And 275 kilometers away from Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, Nagelsmann has to contend with a stuttering start to the first phase of preparation for the Germany tour, which begins on June 14 in Munich against Scotland. The training group will only fill up slowly.

Nagelsmann confirms: Neuer is the tournament goalkeeper

Manuel Neuer will not arrive until Wednesday at the earliest after suffering from a gastrointestinal infection. “He’s still a bit weak,” reported Nagelsmann. For him, however, the 38-year-old Bayern captain will remain the tournament goalkeeper, “if he’s healthy.” The Leverkusen double-winning trio Robert Andrich, Florian Wirtz and Jonathan Tah, as well as captain Ilkay Gündogan (FC Barcelona), will only arrive in Blankenhain in the middle of the week and start work.

After a few days of special leave, substitute goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen will not even join the DFB squad until the penultimate European Championship friendly match against Ukraine in Nuremberg next Monday. And the Champions League finalists Toni Kroos and Antonio Rüdiger from Real Madrid as well as Niclas Füllkrug and Nico Schlotterbeck from Borussia Dortmund are the last to join the team and are not expected until the following day. “The fine-tuning will then take place in Herzogenaurach,” noted Völler.

Nagelsmann’s wish: No injuries

The long club season has also left its physical mark on a number of players. The Bayern trio Jamal Musiala, Leroy Sané and Aleksandar Pavlovic are still training in moderation. Leipzig’s David Raum is still suffering from problems with the lateral ligament in his knee. Nagelsmann’s main wish for preparation is understandable: “We hope that no player gets injured and that we don’t have to nominate any players.”

Even though the focus is on training, the days at the Blankenhain golf resort, which will serve as a base camp for Harry Kane’s English team during the European Championship finals, offer more than 24 hours of football. National players Müller and Chris Führich distributed food to people in need on Monday as part of a campaign run by the Blankenhain food bank.

On Wednesday, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will visit the DFB team. The following day, the DFB players will hear about a special task force and learn how crucial it is to work together perfectly and “be there for each other,” as Nagelsmann put it. In addition, the players’ wives and children will be allowed to be in the team quarters for the first few days. A big family celebration on Tuesday afternoon with a barbecue is intended to strengthen the sense of community.

“If you can create unity, you can achieve great things,” said DFB boss Neuendorf. The friendly match victories against France (2-0) and Holland (2-1) sparked “incredible optimism” not only in the “inner circle” but also in the public, said 64-year-old Völler, who has experienced numerous tournaments as a player and team manager.

“High award” for Thuringia

In the idyllic Weimar region, the east of Germany is to be taken along and excited for the European Championships. Thuringia’s Minister of Economic Affairs Wolfgang Tiefensee (SPD) spoke of “a great honor” for the state to have the national team as a guest. Völler raved about the “optimal conditions” on site.

Nagelsmann wants to develop the home European Championship into a national football project in the coming weeks. He therefore called the public training as a starting point valuable “for a connection” with the fans. After three tournament flops at the 2018 World Cup, the 2021 European Championship and the 2022 World Cup in their own country, they should once again experience “a type of football that is fun, that is meant to entertain,” said Nagelsmann. And ideally that will last until the last of the 31 tournament days, the big European Championship final in Berlin in mid-July.

Source: Stern

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