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Work, rest and play

Stars thrilled by new performance centre

Reporting back for the new season on Friday, Brazilian ace Zé Roberto could hardly disguise his astonishment as team manager Christian Nerlinger took him on a guided tour of the performance centre, the unique facility which has replaced the former professionals’ quarters. “Everything’s different, everything’s ultra-modern,” the player told, “what’s been achieved here in so short a time is incredible.”

The rebuilding only started on 19 May, but the team and the coaching staff began using the centre on Monday, just six weeks later. The finishing touches are still being applied here and there, but what Jürgen Klinsmann rates as “the jewel and the new heart of the club” will be 100 percent complete by the middle of next week.

Globally unique

The players were “totally bowled over,” Klinsmann reported. “It’s unique anywhere in the world, the Real Madrids and Barcelonas don’t have one. We’re really proud of it.” The head coach himself personally conceived the idea for the new facility. “When I was here in January, they told me about the reconstruction plan at the Säbener Strasse. I had a flash of inspiration and thought: hold on, this may be a one-off chance to create a performance centre.”

The board unhesitatingly backed Klinsmann’s initiative, the results of which have dramatically exceeded expectations. “I had some ideas of how it would look, but I’m totally overwhelmed by the finished object,” declared Uli Hoeneß, publicly praising Klinsmann for his idea, “because he’s the driving force behind it.” Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was equally impressed: “We’re all thrilled. It’s a perfect oasis for the players, allowing them to focus 100 percent on football.”

Optimising potential

The 2,000 square metre performance centre is primarily designed to help the players develop their skills, both on and off the field. “The new centre allows us to interact individually with the players and bring them on accordingly,” explained the coach, whose plans were partly inspired by the Player Lounges favoured by leading NFL and NBA clubs.

The fundamental concept called for the creation of space. “We’ve torn down all the walls they’d let us tear down,” grinned Klinsmann. The project was managed by Jürgen Meißner, who oversaw arrangements at the Germany team hotel during the 2006 World Cup. “We wanted generous proportions,” Meißner informed, “it has the character of a loft, a series of wide open spaces.”

Coaches’ office and family room

Indeed, the first floor has effectively become a single room, with the state-of-the-art weights and fitness area on one side, adjacent to the massage unit and the coaches’ office, where Klinsmann and his team conduct planning and analysis sessions. The opposite side boasts a café, a library and a family room, where the players are invited to spend time with their partners and children. A mixing desk and games consoles will be installed shortly.

The first floor also features an e-learning room, intended for language and computer classes. A staircase leads from the family room out onto the roof, where the glass cupola recognisable from the old fan shop now houses another innovative facility. The auditorium, effectively a private cinema with a 2.8m screen and 39 leather seats, will be used for team talks and video analysis, with screened-off booths for up to five simultaneous translators.

High-tech dressing room

Next to the auditorium, the roof terrace boasts barbecue equipment for relaxed communal evenings in the future. The main dressing rooms, the coaches’ dressing room and the showers, with three ice water plunge baths, are located on the ground floor. Each of the 24 lockers in the rebuilt dressing room incorporates a small digital message board, displaying each individual’s specific daily schedule.

The performance centre offers everything the stars require to work, rest and play. “I’ve been a pro for some time now, but this environment is perfect and a total innovation,” commented Hans-Jörg Butt, “it’s seriously impressive.” Added Meißner: “We’ve fitted it out so the players will be happy to spend time here.”

Mere words are not enough

That idea appears to be working. “It’s genuinely the case that I’m already delighted to be spending time here between training sessions,” revealed Michael Rensing, “the performance centre is just massive, you can’t put it into words.” That being the case, discover the new heart of the club for yourself by viewing our latest image gallery.