PAWEL KAPUSTA / AIPS** in OLOMOUC: Rare indeed are the opportunities for fans to see the national team of a top football nation in the train station.
Players in the major tournaments use any other means of transport to move from one city to another, often by aircraft. However the German national team at UEFA U21 Euro took a step back in time.
Thus far the Germans had played all their games in Prague at the Eden and Letna stadia. But the need to move to Olomouc for the semi-final against Portugal saw footballers used to use planes and luxury buses travelling by rail.
Manager Horst Hrubesch was as precise as a station master about the journey: “We woke at 9am, at 10 we had breakfast, at 11 we left for the train station. Our departure time from Prague was at 11.39, arriving in Olomouc at 1.50. From the train station to our hotel took only 20 minutes . . . then we had lunch.”
Defender Julian Korb added: “For us it was a little unusual but it was very pleasant journey. Now we are rested and ready to play our semi-final against Portugal.”
Using the train made sense since the bus journey would have lasted more than three hours and, during tournaments and especially after a long and tough season, teams and their players need to save energy.
Few teams have used public transport at major tournaments in recent years. One recent case was at Euro 2012 when the Czech national team travelled by train from Prague to Wroclaw in Poland. The Czechs’ interest in that tournament ended at the quarter-final stage where they lost . . . to Portugal.
Germany have other plans.
** AIPS is the international sports journalists’ association with 10,000 members worldwide and is co-operating with UEFA in running a Young Reporters course at UEFA U21 EURO in the Czech Republic. More information: www.AIPSmedia.com
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