The Germany national team were paid a visit at the training camp in Eppan today by a delegation of the national blind football team. After a training session with Thomas Müller, Matthias Ginter and two players from Germany’s blind football team, sporting director Oliver Bierhoff spoke to DFB.de about Angela Merkel’s visit and the situation regarding Manuel Neuer. Defender Matthias Ginter reflects on his training experience with the blind footballers and expressed "curiousness" regarding the imminent squad selection. Alexander Fangmann, captain of Germany’s blind national team also spoke about his sport.
... a visit from Angela Merkel: I’ve been informed that she plans to swing by on Sunday, just to say her hellos to the team, without a big deal being made of it. That’s become something of a tradition and the players welcome it.
... the final squad: Fortunately, all the players have made a good impression, which will make it a difficult decision for us. We’ll have our final thoughts the night before.
... Manuel Neuer’s situation: Manuel isn’t just on the right track, he’s right on track. He’s no longer thinking carefully about colliding with players – he’s shown at training that he’s there.
... his experience training with Germany’s blind footballers: That was the first time for me, and I must admit I couldn’t really do much at all football-wise. I’ve got the utmost respect for the lads who play it – it’s exceptional, and hard for me to imagine as well; playing without seeing. It really is very, very difficult.
... the nerves ahead of the squad announcement: We’re all a little curious now. I’ve given everything over the last year and here at the training camp as well, but now it’s out of my hands – the decision will be made by the coach. At the moment there’s not huge tension among the players – we’re all playing well. The coaching team have enough experience and we’ll be pleased if we’re on the plane to Russia.
… blind football: I took part in a workshop during the 2006 World Cup, and since the sport exists in Germany I’ve been a part of it. For me, it’s football just like it is for everyone else; playing the sport you love with people who have the same disability as you is what makes it special. We’re inclusive as well, which means we have goalkeepers who can see, guides behind the goal and a coach on the touchline, so we have support from people who can all see. We don’t need guiding when it comes to scoring goals though. For us it’s also just about winning – it may be more demanding, but at the end of the day it’s the same goal.