After Germany’s main training session on Thursday afternoon, Thomas Muller and Matthias Ginter got the opportunity to link up and play some small-sided games with Alexander Fangmann and Alican Pektas, two members of the German Blind National Team.
Muller and Ginter were provided with vision-blocking blindfolds to experience what it’s like to play without sight and played with a rattling football that’s used in Germany’s Blindenfußball Bundesliga. The event coincided with Die Mannschaft’s social-political and cultural enhancement efforts in Russia ahead of this summer’s World Cup.
Speaking on the positive effects of the National Team’s diverse amelioration efforts, DFB President Reinhard Grindel said, “We’ll build bridges as perhaps only football can do, and people will meet one another who might otherwise not have done so” (via Dfb.de).
Some highlights from the session:
Tolle Aktion! Die Weltmeister @esmuellert_ und @MatzeGinter begegnen ihren nicht sehenden Nationalspieler-Kollegen.— Die Mannschaft (@DFB_Team) May 31, 2018
➡️ https://t.co/NDuBBNihuO#ZSMMN #DieMannschaft pic.twitter.com/7QxPl0XuI7
DFB treasurer, Dr. Stephan Osnabrugge described the feeling of inclusion that the German Blind Football League has given individuals with vision impairments:
For many blind people, football is an important form of social involvement, whether as players or as fans in Bundesliga statiums, where without exception now audio commentaries are offered. With the creation of the football Bundesliga for blind persons by the Herberger Foundation and with the partners for handicapped football in DFB state federations, we are also taking a stance for inclusiveness.
1000 footballs for the children in Russia, and more!
Shortly after Die Mannschaft makes their way to their World Cup base camp just outside of Moscow, the DFB plans on distributing 1000 footballs to the children in the area of Watutinki; a city close to the team’s base camp. The balls are going to be given to a children’s league that has 120 teams, the CSKA Moscow youth department, the German-Russian school in Moscow, as well as a children’s home in Watutinki.
Oliver Bierhoff, Germany’s team manager, explained how the federation wants to give back to the country that hosted them during the Confederations Cup last summer:
We already felt good in Russia in 2017 when we won the Confederations Cup. As good guests, we want to get involved this summer as well, always to benefit children in Russia.
The DFB is also involved in promoting a special travel guide to Russia published by the DFB’s cultural foundation ( DFB-Kulturstiftung). Additionally, they will support a mother-child institute in St. Petersburg in association with the Egidius Braun Foundation, as well as a summer school for social entrepreneurship at the University of Heidelberg.