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England’s base camp at Blankenhain: a guide

England's Euro 2024 campaign will begin next Sunday when they take on Serbia in Gelsenkirchen but Gareth Southgate and his squad will have already been in Germany for nearly a week by the time the match kicks off.

On Monday, the England squad will fly to Germany before making their way over to their base camp in Blankenhain. England's base camp for Euro 2024 has caused quite a stir for several reasons but mainly because it is based in East Germany, hundreds of kilometres away from all three of their group matches.

Why have England decided to set up camp so far away from the tournament and what makes the base at Blankenhain so in demand? Here is everything you need to know.

England's base camp for Euro 2024
England's base camp for Euro 2024 – Photo by Weimarer Land Golf Hotel and Spa

What is England's base camp for Euro 2024 like?

Last year, it was confirmed that England's base camp for Euro 2024 would be the Weimarer Land Golf Hotel and Spa in Blankenhain. The resort is a tranquil paradise with plenty of non-football-related activities available to keep the players relaxed and entertained in between matches.

Most notably, the resort boasts three golf courses which will go down a treat with the majority of the squad. England captain, Harry Kane, is a big fan of golf while several other members of the squad also enjoy a round when they're not on the football pitch.

Most importantly, the base camp has two full-size football pitches in immaculate condition which will be used for training. Inside, there are countless function rooms which Southgate will use to host team meetings and debriefs.

There are two swimming pools and a spa at the resort, so the inflatable unicorns that have become popular at previous tournaments in the Southgate era should make another appearance. Meanwhile, there are seven restaurants to keep the players and staff well-fed.

Why did England pick the resort?

The decision to base themselves in East Germany (one of only two teams at the tournament to do so) has raised plenty of eyebrows.

However, this was a hotel very much in demand. Ralf Rangnick, who worked for RB Leipzig between 2015 and 2019, was well aware of the resort due to its close proximity to Leipzig and wanted it as Austria's base for the tournament.

Meanwhile, Germany reportedly would have picked the resort themselves were they not contractually obliged to use an Adidas base camp in Herzogenaurach. The German squad most recently used the base ahead of their final warm-up game against Greece.

The hotel is seemingly perfect as a base camp, in that has plenty of entertainment for players, is welcoming for WAGs and families and is far away from the hustle and bustle of a busy city centre – something that has plagued England teams in the past.

What has Gareth Southgate said about England's base camp for Euro 2024?

Before the base camp was announced, Southgate had outlined what he believed made a perfect tournament base camp and the Weimarer Land Golf Hotel and Spa seems to tick most of his boxes. He said:

“We need that nice contrast of relaxation and areas where we can work. You want to minimise travel where you can but within the FA our staff are really good at picking venues that the players will enjoy and feel comfortable in.

Weimarer Land Golf Hotel and Spa
There are three golf courses at the Weimarer Land Golf Hotel and Spa – Photo by Weimarer Land Golf Hotel and Spa

The one downside to England's base camp is its distance from their group stage matches. All three matches are in West Germany, with England set to play Serbia in Gelsenkirchen, Denmark in Frankfurt and Slovenia in Cologne.

Due to Euro 2024 billing itself as the most sustainable and green major tournament of all time, there has been a push to no teams use air travel to get to matches but England are set to against that guidance for two of their three group matches.

For the match against Denmark in Frankfurt, England will go via coach in what will be a 282km journey across Germany. The total driving time will be around three hours.

However, for the matches in Gelsenkirchen and Cologne, the England team will be flying in a move that is likely to infuriate thousands of people given how avoidable the entire situation is.

The closest airport to England's base camp is just under 50km away in Erfurt-Weimar and flying to Gelsenkirchen and Cologne will save them hefty coach trips that would exceed four hours.

Andy Delaney

Andy is a freelance sports writer with ten years of experience covering major sporting events across Europe. He has also been a season ticket holder at Old Trafford since 2008 and has visited over 40 football stadiums in the United Kingdom and abroad following the Reds.

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