Germany's U19s side have reached the midway point of their European Championship preparation in Austria, after four intensive days. Despite the beautiful scenery of Schladming Trauern, the players are working hard for their home EUROs in Baden-Württemberg, with two two-hour training sessions take place on almost a daily basis.
"We are practically preparing for a season here, compressed into eight days," explained U19s fitness coach Christian Schwend. "We started with stamina over the first few days and now the coaching staff will decide which areas are to be worked on next." Various techniques are used in training to guarantee an optimal level of fitness in a short time period. Regeneration is clearly something that plays a part as well.
A key challenge for the coaching staff is judging the individual fitness levels of each player, in order to control their workloads in training. "This is because the season ended at different times for each player," knows Schwend. "While some have been on vacation since mid-May and have already participated in a week of pre-season training, others have been on vacation since the start of June."
Allocation of workloads between the end of the season and the start of the training camp was conducted after correspondence with the respective fitness coaches at the players' clubs. The basic and transitional plans, which the 24 players received for this time period, were worked out together by the clubs and Christian Schwend.
Has the fitness coach been satisfied with the results? "Yes, the lads are coming along nicely. Heavy legs are a part of this, but they are regenerating quickly. I hope we can continue our work in this fashion until Tuesday," said Schwend.
And what do the players think? "These sessions are extremely tiring, but we want to be top fit during the tournament and we are giving everything for that," explained Gino Fercher from RB Leipzig and his teammate Amara Conde (VfL Wolfsburg) added: "It's a tough programme here, but we feel very comfortable with our coaching staff and the medical department. We can only reach our goals at our home EUROs by preparing well."
Hannover 96's Timo Königsmann is no longer with the team, as he was forced onto the sidelines with an injury. Moritz Nicolas (Borussia Mönchengladbach) has been called up as a replacement and he will join the rest of the squad on Sunday.
Four days remain for Germany's U19s side in Austria, in order to reach their maximum fitness levels before taking on Italy in the tournament's opening game on July 11th in Stuttgart.