Every four years the FIFA World Cup churns out a champion side, which is revered across the globe for their endurance and perseverance that lead them to the ultimate glory. But the 20th edition of the World Cup presented True Champions – Germany, as the winner.
Why 'True Champions' you ask? The answer is simple, it’s not like any other team coming to Brazil in pursuit of the coveted cup. The Germans came, conquered and won hearts, and then left. What makes Germany the true champions is the way they won, not only the cup but hearts of the people of Brazil.
The Germans came to Brazil 6 months in advance and built a camp at Bahia, in a secluded small village Santo André in the state of Bahia, and named it Campo Bahia. The facility was built with the sole purpose of training and uniting the team.
The camp comprised a hotel, health centre, football ground. Interestingly only locals were hired, and no Germans were employed in the camp. The team not only prepared but also mingled with the locals.
Coming from different clubs and amidst prevailing rivalries, it would not have been easy for players to play as a unit. And Campo Bahia proved elemental in instilling the feeling of oneness and helped German players play as a team.
“It was the perfect solution, as far as us players are concerned,” felt top-scorer Thomas Mueller who scored five goals in Brazil.
“It’s a totally different atmosphere to a hotel, you could really experience team life, yet everyone had their own space.”
According to left-back Benedikt Hoewedes, “The village environment was a major factor in forging team spirit. We got used to living together and fighting for each other on the pitch.”
And now, after the Germans have won their 4th title and have headed home, everything that was built will go to the locals and the facility will be turned into a school.
As the mega event kicked-off, Germany’s preparations started showing results; the players were not only dominating on the field, but even off it as well. The players got a taste of the Brazilian culture when they socialized with the locals in their free time. They also had a grand festival with the natives.
According to a website, the German’s also donated 10,000 Euros for charity to help buy an ambulance, and not only that they wore the local team’s kit and sang their anthem.
They also apologized to the home fans for the heartbreaking 7-1 thrashing of Brazil, and after they sealed glory in the 2014 World Cup, they thanked Brazil for their hospitality and love.
Now that's what True Champions are like.
Image 1: German team singing and dancing with locals at Campo Bahia
Image 2: Aerial view of Campo Bahia
Image 3: Lukas Podolski posses for picture with a local fan