Berlin: Germany's World Cup preparation has been hit by a week of turbulence in which a car crash, injuries, a scandal and a driving ban have all caused disruption.
Germany's goalkeeper Manuel Neuer warms up during a training session yesterday. Pic/AFP
Head coach Joachim Loew took his squad to a luxury, five-star hotel in south Tirol's St Leonhard for 10 days to prepare his stars for their World Cup Group G campaign, which starts on June 16 against Portugal in Salvador.
Yet a series of unfortunate incidents have left some squad members seeking the services of the team's sports psychologist Hans-Dieter Hermann.
Defender Kevin Grosskreutz caused a scandal just before the camp started by urinating in the foyer of a Berlin hotel after the German Cup final, the same match where captain Philipp Lahm and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer picked up worrying injuries.
Loew was also hit with a six-month driving ban as the German Football Association (DFB) daily press conferences became an exercise in damage limitation.
But the worst was still to come on Tuesday when a 63-year-old German was seriously injured after being hit by a car driven by professional touring car racer Pascal Wehrlein, 19, with Germany centre-back Benedikt Hoewedes as his passenger.
A course steward was also hurt in the accident during the Mercedes sponsored event, which included Formula One star and Monaco Grand Prix winner Nico Rosberg, on the grounds of the team hotel.
The product presentation, which had allowed Germany's World Cup stars to hitch a ride with professional drivers, quickly turned into a public relations nightmare for both Mercedes and the DFB.
"Of course, the situation was a shock for me," the 26-year-old Hoewedes said after the crash.
"The images will stay in my head for a long time. I have talked it over with the coach, the team and the backroom staff."
Loew had hoped the north Italian Alps in May would help acclimatise his squad for the fierce heat of Brazil's north coast.
But heavy rain blighted Tuesday evening's session leaving a soggy Loew to instruct his stars on the sodden training pitch.
1. Defender Kevin Grosskreutz causes a scandal just before the national camp started by urinating in the foyer of a Berlin hotel
2. Head coach Joachim Loew hit with a six-month driving ban after collecting 18 points in driving infringements
3. A car carrying centre-back Benedikt Hoewedes crashes during a sponsor event. Hoewedes and midfielder Julian Draxler, who also witnesses the crash, require sessions with the team psychologist
4. Heavy rain blights Tuesday’s training session
5. Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer picks up a shoulder injury which rules him out of Sunday’s friendly with Cameroon