Germany fly to Brazil on Saturday targeting a fourth World Cup title, but behind the scenes an enormous logistical effort has been required before their campaign kicks off.
“If this had been my first tournament, I would certainly have spent one or two sleepless nights,” admitted Georg Behlau, responsible for travel and logistics at the German Football Association (DFB).
“The challenge is huge, the pressure is huge and the anticipation is also huge.”
Joachim Loew’s side flies from Frankfurt via Salvador to their World Cup base near Porto Seguro, but the equipment which awaits them at their luxury hotel was sent by sea weeks ago.
In total, the DFB have shipped 23 tons of luggage — one for each member of the squad — which includes fitness equipment, mountain bikes, table tennis boards, both billiard and snooker tables and even dart boards.
Germany’s stars only have to supply their own underwear and toothbrush, judging by the list of clothing the DFB have taken to Brazil.
It includes 20 sets of playing shirts for the entire squad, two per match, plus alternative shirts. There are also 60 tracksuits, plus everything from formal attire down to t-shirts.
Behlau said he and his team had to satisfy an exhaustive list of requirements to pass through Brazilian customs, which was “something we hadn’t experienced before”.
Eight trips to Brazil
For each drug the DFB’s medical staff took to Brazil, a production and expiry date had to be provided, while each item of clothing had to be listed with details of material, size and colour.
This will be Behlau’s fourth major tournament and although he faced many challenges and problems in South Africa four years ago, he says the Brazil World Cup provides him with his toughest test to date.
“The country is 24 times the size of Germany and has different climates, which one must take into account,” he said.
Behlau has travelled to Brazil eight times since 2012, inspecting eleven venues and 30 hotels in advance, to make sure everything is ready.
The German’s hotel, built by a firm from Munich, was only finished recently and DFB employees, including IT specialists and a cook, have been there for weeks.