Germans booked in for World Cup

Five-star South Africa hotel selected but three-time champions are yet to qualify

Despite having failed so far to guarantee their berth at the 2010 World Cup finals, the German squad has already booked luxury South African headquarters. The five-star Velmore Grande near Pretoria, due to open in November this year, has been booked as Germany's base in South Africa if they qualify, German Soccer Federation (DFB) officials said yesterday.

Germany are top of their qualifying group, a point ahead of second-placed Russia. They played Azerbaijan last night and will travel to Russia in October for the match that will largely determine who ends up first in the group and wins automatic qualification. Their final game is against Finland, also in October.

Meanwhile Bayern Munich, Germany's biggest club, should be a more enjoyable place to be if winger Franck Ribéry gets his way. He wants to restore fun to training after several months of rigorous, regimented work under Louis van Gaal.

The Frenchman has a reputation for being a joker in the dressing room and regularly performed jokes on his team-mates and even former coaches Ottmar Hitzfeld and Jurgen Klinsmann during his first two years with the club.

However, since Ribéry does not believe Van Gaal would see the funny side to any prank, he has so far kept his head down and followed orders. "Playing jokes on people is part of Franck Ribéry, whoever I do it to," he told Sport Bild magazine. "If I am not having any fun, then I cannot play football either."

Ribéry may be planning to lighten up his coach, although he admits that the more serious approach to training is also working. "We are training well and hard," he added. "[Van Gaal] talks a lot with me and is getting to know me a lot better. I feel that we are on the right path."

Ribéry could be fit to make his first start of the season for Bayern at Borussia Dortmund this weekend after recovering from a calf strain picked up while on international duty for France. He trained fully on Tuesday and was expected to appear for France in their crucial World Cup qualifier against Serbia last night, giving him the match fitness to enable Van Gaal to pick him in his first-choice team on Saturday.

Bochum's four-year stay in the Bundesliga has led to record profits being posted for the 2008-09 financial year. The Ruhrside club yesterday held its annual general meeting where a profit of €2.7m and a 38 per cent increase in turnover was revealed, leaving the club with a clean bill of health for the future. "We have never had such a good financial situation since I have been at Bochum," said the club's financial officer Ansgar Schwenken.

Only the team's performance on the field is not quite producing the same results and the fact that only around 200 of 5,000 members eligible to vote actually turned up to the AGM is a clear indication of the on-field woes.

However, that should change over the coming years as Schwenken promised more funds would be made available for team strengthening. "As we reduce our debts further, we will focus our investments on the team," he said after revealing that €8m worth of debt has been paid off in the past three years. Meanwhile, the club's board and chairman Werner Altegoer were overwhelmingly voted back into power with just 12 votes against.

Eintracht Frankfurt coach Michael Skibbe has criticised his own club's management for not allowing him to sign his preferred player over the summer. Skibbe wanted to bring Brazilian midfielder Lincoln back to the Bundesliga after he was deemed to be surplus to requirements by his former club Galatasaray, but his wish was not granted due to the financial demands of the player.

The former Schalke midfielder is now without a club. "The club has made a huge error," Skibbe said. "When we get a player like him served to us on a silver platter, then we should have pulled out all the stops. In just one move, we would have been able to improve our attack by 20 per cent. It is a real shame that Lincoln did not come. He would have been able to take this team to another level."

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Sport
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
i100
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
News
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam