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Germany let Hrubesch live Rio dream

The Germany squad's motto exhorts them to fulfil childhood dreams – in so doing, Horst Hrubesch's charges have realised their coach's own boyhood ambitions.

Horst Hrubesch's players have fulfilled their coach's Olympic dream
Horst Hrubesch's players have fulfilled their coach's Olympic dream ©Getty Images

For a nation with as much footballing pedigree and history as Germany, their absence from the Olympic Games since 1988 may come as somewhat of a surprise. Ending the long wait by qualifying for the semi-finals of the UEFA Under-21 European Championship on Tuesday night meant more than stopping the bleeding, however.

"For all of us, it was extremely important to reach the Olympics," midfielder Nico Schulz explained. "We desperately wanted to do it for the coach, who is very keen to take part in Rio. He's never taken part in the Olympics in his life and we're happy to accomplish this goal for him."

Schulz's sentiments were echoed by the whole squad after Tuesday's 1-1 draw with the Czech Republic, which secured their place in Rio de Janeiro next summer.

Horst Hrubesch, fondly nicknamed 'Hotte', previously admitted he is growing a little tired of being labelled a 'father figure' for his players, but the team's pride in fulfilling the 64-year-old's wish spoke volumes in regard to their relationship. Germany's motto throughout the tournament — 'Lebe Deinen Kindheitstraum' (Live your childhood dream) – has come to fruition.

Highlights: Czech Republic 1-1 Germany

Little touches in their hotel such as a picture showing the Christ the Redeemer statue that dominates the Olympic host city's skyline have served as motivation to get this far. However, as the Olympics in Brazil are still more than a year away, captain Kevin Volland soberly reminded everyone: "The coach is the only one assured of going."

Hrubesch spoke passionately about his love for the Olympics ahead of the Czech match: "I could deliver a 30-minute monologue on the Games." He will now be able to add a dash of personal experience when he eulogises on them after his players made his childhood dream come true. And there is no one — not in the camp, the media nor among German football fans — who does not feel happy for him.