Following training camps in Bavaria and Cyprus, Germany arrived in Tel Aviv in high spirits ahead of the start of their UEFA European Under-21 Championship campaign.
Having spent productive time here in March, Germany coach Rainer Adrion once again seems impressed with hosts Israel. With only a handful of training sessions to go until Adrion's side kick off their tournament against the Netherlands on Thursday, the players acquainted themselves with Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC's Hodorov training ground on Monday evening.
"It is great here," said Tottenham Hotspur FC midfielder Lewis Holtby. "The atmosphere is fantastic and the place is just gorgeous. Our hotel is superb and we have everything we need to be successful. It is entirely up to us now."
Holtby has fond memories of Israel after Germany's visit earlier in the year, having opened the scoring in a 2-1 friendly victory against Guy Luzon's side. "The hospitality here is amazing and our hotel is great," added Holtby. "We are right by the beach, but we're not here to party. The onus is entirely on us and on Thursday we have a cracking match against the Netherlands – a very prestigious game for us."
For coach Adrion, things are also coming together. For the past two weeks he has had to work with a depleted squad, but day by day more players have arrived. The squad was finally complete when Antonio Rüdiger joined after playing for VfB Stuttgart in their 3-2 loss against FC Bayern München in Saturday's German Cup final.
"I have been to Israel a couple of times," said Adrion. "The people are very friendly and the countryside is nice. The fans here in Israel are fantastic and they show a lot of enthusiasm for this tournament."
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