Johannesburg - Part of the Bundesliga World Tour 2015, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim are well into the swing of things at their winter training camp in South Africa, and the intensity of proceedings thus far has not been lost on club captain Andreas Beck.
‘Delighted to get back together’
The 27-year-old arrived in Johannesburg a day earlier than the rest of his team-mates having vacationed in the Rainbow nation ahead of the mid-season meet-up, but is delighted to back amongst his footballing “family” as preparations for the second half of the 2014/15 Bundesliga campaign continue in earnest.
Andreas Beck, you and the team have got the first few intense training sessions under your belt. Have you noticed the strain?
Of course. We all had our individual training regimes with us during the last ten days of holiday, but first-team training at this level of intensity is something completely different. In some cases we’ve attempted to recreate the intensity of a competitive fixture. You really feel the effects when there are two or three different sessions in a single day. Things really kick off, especially when we’re working on planned out in-game situations. At that point it doesn’t matter whether its 20 or 30 degrees - it takes its toll.
Back to business. Three sessions today - pitch, athletic, pitch. Hard work!
" says this tweet by the official Hoffenheim Twitter account.
Your first mid-season friendly is on Sunday. Are you looking forward to it?
Of course, as professional footballers we’re all competitive people and want to test ourselves. It still feels an age away, though. We’ll be on the training pitch once, twice or maybe even three times beforehand and will then analyse the video footage - that’s what’s in our heads right now. But I’m still looking forward to it. The last game, of which we all have very fond memories, was the
at Hertha Berlin a few weeks ago. 11 against 11 on the pitch - it’s enough to make you tingle.
When you see the squad both on and off the pitch, the team unity is immediately apparent…
That’s exactly how it feels as part of the side too. It certainly doesn’t take us any time to find ourselves again. We know each other well, some of us for several years. We're a solid unit. The different characters suit one another and you can really feel that. It’s just like returning to see your family. There’s no doubting everyone was delighted to get back together.
You’ve vacationed several times in Cape Town, but can you draw any comparisons with Johannesburg?
Culturally and in terms of the lifestyle and living conditions, I can’t. Here, pretty much all I see is the hotel and the training ground, whereas in Cape Town I was able to really immerse myself in the city. I can definitely make comparisons in regards to the climate though. My own subjective impression is that there were less clouds and the sunshine was more extreme in Cape Town, but you don’t notice it as much because of the ocean and the pleasant breeze. Here it feels hotter and the work takes a greater strain on your body as a result of the increased altitude.
Andreas Beck is spraying his team-mates with water - the captain’s allowed to do that!
This is Hoffenheim’s first training camp in Africa. How satisfied are you with the conditions?
They’re very good. Previously our winter training camps have been in Spain, Portugal or Turkey where the weather isn’t as reliable. It can end up being really cool or even raining. Here you might get a short rain shower, but for the most part it’s always nice and the pitch, despite it being mid-summer right now, is in a fantastic condition.