DFB team at "Schlucksee": The strangest World Cup preparation of all time

Fishing, drinking and prostitutes - the World Cup preparations for the 1982 tournament in Spain were "miserable", as goalkeeper Toni Schumacher remembers - and is therefore perhaps legendary to this day.

DFB team at "Schlucksee": The strangest World Cup preparation of all time

Fishing, drinking and prostitutes - the World Cup preparations for the 1982 tournament in Spain were "miserable", as goalkeeper Toni Schumacher remembers - and is therefore perhaps legendary to this day. The training camp at Schluchsee was renamed "Schlucksee" on site. "Active relaxation" in a different way than originally intended!

"Some players like the young Gladbacher Lothar Matthäus and the Lauterer powerhouse Hans-Peter Briegel only took part in the few forest runs for visual reasons. Actually, they would have been better off staying in their rooms to recover." According to Erich Ribbeck, the assistant to national coach Jupp Derwall at the time, the concept of "active recreation" really took off in the legendary training camp in the "climatic health resort" on Schluchsee before the 1982 World Cup.

After a long season and the joint farewell game for Franz Beckenbauer against HSV on June 1st in Hamburg, the DFB footballers should prepare for the upcoming tournament in the idyllic Black Forest. And this time the approach was completely different than usual. Bayern star Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was definitely enthusiastic: "I find this kind of preparation much better than four years ago at the Malente sports school. Here everything is there that the can cheer players up and cheer them up."

And indeed: what happened at the Schluchsee in early June forty years ago had never happened before in the long history of the German Football Association - and was to change a lot at the DFB afterwards. The "Kicker" wrote at the time: "A mixture of folk festival and pilgrimage - that's how the mood that our national team meets in the Upper Black Forest can be described in a few words."

The DFB team had rented a room in the "Hotel Vier Jahrzeiten", a huge complex, and mingled with hundreds of other hotel guests. Also always there, of course: a host of journalists, some of whom couldn't believe or grasp what was happening in front of their eyes.

“The desire and love for your job should be awakened through the desire and love of pursuing your hobbies,” was the motto at the time. And so a representative of "Kicker" noted for June 4, 1982: "It's 5.54 a.m. on Friday morning. Dawn is creeping up over the dark mountains around the Schluchsee as Horst Hrubesch and Wolfgang Dremmler leave the hotel. The two anglers among the German national players are picked up by local guides to go fishing."

Harald "Toni" Schumacher remembered these special days with a smile in the new book by and about Eike Immel: "Some went fishing. First two men went fishing, in the end there were eight. But I never saw a fish." The DFB keeper remembers that "the craziest things" happened at Schluchsee: "It was miserable preparation for a World Cup. Everyone did what they wanted."

His later roommate in Spain, Eike Immel, dictated to the journalists in their notepads: "At the end of the Bundesliga season I felt totally drained. I was pretty listless. But now football is fun again." Many years later, with the necessary distance, he now says in his book self-critically about this very special time before the 1982 World Cup in Spain: "Discipline was practically non-existent. Most were nocturnal, we celebrated. We played cards, logically. There was also a fashion show by a designer from Dusseldorf. The models kept coming back to us until the final in Madrid. There were also visits from prostitutes, night outs and much more."

To this day, people tell the story of the national players Hrubesch, Kaltz and Reinders, who many a night after a few cool drinks had 100 fried eggs brought to their room by the hotel chef. After they could only eat one or two pieces per person due to the late hour, almost 90 eggs were returned untouched. You just enjoyed life to the fullest. And in this relaxed leisure time mood, Uwe Reinders probably injured himself one afternoon during a strange action. During a table tennis game (!), the DFB international suffered severe ligament strains in his foot and was out for a few days. His motto for a speedy recovery was literally: "Two Campari sodas would be best for my leg."

And another national player was particularly noticeable at the time. Returnee Paul Breitner caused displeasure not only among journalists but also among his colleagues. Toni Schumacher later wrote about Breitner in his book "Anpfiff": "He drank like a Cossack". And the later national coach Berti Vogts was also upset about the constantly nagging teammate: "It was Breitner who was too drunk to train."

It was clear early on that all the hustle and bustle had to be stopped, but there was no one at the DFB in those legendary days of "Schlucksee". Toni Schumacher: "Derwall didn't notice it that way. He was like a kind father to us, he understood everything. And we were like children trying out how far they could go. We loved him, didn't fear him and didn't respected. There were never sanctions against undisciplined, weak-willed or lazy players."

Knowing about the legendary "Schlucksee" training camp, it is hardly surprising that the subsequent World Cup in Spain, in addition to the sporting highlights such as the "Night of Seville" in the semi-final against France, was mainly due to further headline-grabbing escapades and the scandalous game against Austria, better known as "The Shame of Gijon".

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