If any German national player with a World Cup prospect googles his presumed accommodation for the tournament time in Qatar, he’ll likely be shocked and thrilled at the same time. Illustrated self-portrait Zulal Wellness Resort promises verdant gardens and elegant interiors, a haven of intellectual edification and physical refreshment.
However, there is also a revealing aerial view in the photo gallery that might make the national player think that the paradise presented is just one of those mirages that secret policemen Schulze and Schultze once set up in “Tim & Struppi “. You can see the generously landscaped settlement amidst azure pool landscapes surrounded by green plants. But it’s also seeing the reality of the desert on the resort’s doorstep, the sight of which can trigger thirst, hot flashes and feelings of abandonment – at least for sensitive domestic players.
Nevertheless, some time ago Hansi Flick opted for the newly opened complex on the north coast, which is as far from the capital Doha as possible and therefore from the center of tournament events in this small country. “It’s calm, you can open the window, you’re alone. It would be a good thing,” said the national coach on the sidelines of the draw for the final stages. It has “nothing to do with ‘sealing’ – it’s just about knowing where we have the best conditions.” The training grounds should be excellent, report the DFB envoys. Thanks to seawater desalination plants, there is no lack of water for the lawn.
Compared to the many flights in Brazil in 2014, transfers in Qatar are like coffee trips
DFB folks don’t have to worry that there’s only sand, stones and heat outside the irrigated hotel zone – players probably won’t leave the site anyway, except for practices and matches. Even in their famous self-built quarters in Brazil 2014, which were in a pretty village and on the beautiful Atlantic Ocean, some inmates only discovered after weeks that there was beach access. Others never entered the village because they believed in fairy tales that it was dangerous there.
Despite Flick’s clear preference, the national team management has yet to submit a lease for the German home, which again is very special. It is said that this has technical reasons. It’s a question of contracts and costs, Fifa also has its interests and has a say. The fact that DFB director Oliver Bierhoff has once again pointed out that there are good reasons for an alternative to the remote wellness temple near the city probably serves as an exculpatory argument in the negotiations in Classes.
However, Flick can rest easy, he knows his wish is decisive. He can confidently leave the formalities to the administration. Immediately after Friday night’s draw, he returned to Germany to sit punctually and conscientiously in the stands at Sinsheim Stadium on Saturday and watch the match between TSG Hoffenheim and VfL Bochum.
As in real life, he saw both the good news – a goal from his incredible left winger David Raum – and the scary: two goals from VfL striker Takuma Asano, who we saw on start of the World Cup on November 23. In the Japan national team, Asano is part of the storm squad alongside former 60s lion Cologne and Yuya Osako from Bremen.
True, files on both have already been created in the new DFB academy, because basically everything is thought about in the World Cup. Especially when it comes to living and well-being: When it comes to accommodation in Doha, Bierhoff also thinks of the advantage that the DFB entourage does not have to travel to be there day before kick-off – as stipulated by the regulations. But compared to tedious air travel in South Africa, Brazil and Russia, trips to Qatar feel like coffee trips.
In the preliminary round, the Germans discover only two of the eight World Cup stadiums. Their departure against Japan on the third day of the tournament will take place at the Khalifa Stadium in western Doha, local time 4:00 p.m. (Germany: 2:00 p.m.). DFB internist Tim Meyer doesn’t have to worry about the afternoon heat and dehydration, the building can be cooled down to 24 degrees. The other two matches are late events, local time 10 p.m. (Germany 8 p.m.). At Al-Bayt Stadium, north of the bustling metropolis, the encounter with Spain, which everyone says is explosive, will take place first, followed by either Costa Rica or New Zealand.
“We are happy to know how it started and how it must continue,” Flick said. The opponents did not give his team time to get used to it: “You have to be there from the start”, assures the national coach. The rest of the competition would then also be difficult: opponents such as Belgium, Croatia and Brazil threaten for the round of 16 and the quarter-finals. A good recovery between games could then become even more valuable.