DFB president Reinhard Grindel started a five-day trip to World Cup host nation Russia today. Grindel is due to take part in high-level talks with the General Secretary of the Russian Football Federation Aleksandr Alaev on Monday in Moscow, before meeting up with CEO of the Russian World Cup Organising Committee Alexey Sorokin in Volgograd the day after.
The trip, which is being known as the “German-Russian week of football”, will also include an international friendly between the German and Russian Under-18 teams. The game will be held on Tuesday in Volgograd, 75 years after the younger generations from both countries took part in a bloody war against one another in the exact same place. The “game of peace” will kick off at 17:00 CEST. On Wednesday, both the DFB president and all the members of the Under-18 squad will pay a visit to the German Rossoschka war memorial.
Ahead of his departure on Sunday afternoon, Reinhard Grindel said: “It’s a strong showing of reconciliation and peaceful togetherness to have the game between our two Under-18 sides played in a city like Volgograd (formerly Stalingrad) that is so historically meaningful for both countries. Fair play, respect, and the keeping of human rights are the values that football stands for.”
Reinhard Grindel will be joined on his travels by Thomas Hitzlsperger, who has been the DFB’s ambassador for diversity since last year, as well as DFB vice-President Dr. Rainer Koch and Eugen Gehlenborg. The trip will also consist of a fan-dialogue between German and Russian fans and a visit to the Russian Cup final on Wednesday evening.