x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Warm-up for Germany's Bundesliga club starts early in UAE

With the league in the middle of its winter shutdown, three clubs will compete here during the next six days.

The Sevens Stadium in Dubai.
The Sevens Stadium in Dubai.

DUBAI // Such will be the proliferation of German football teams at The Sevens this week, organisers should consider temporarily rebranding the Dubai venue "Die Siebenen".

With the Bundesliga in the middle of its winter shutdown, Hamburg, Eintracht Frankfurt and Borussia Monchengladbach will compete here during the next six days as the clubs mix warm weather training with competitive matches - including tomorrow's game between Frankfurt and Al Jazira in Abu Dhabi (kick off 7pm).

Monchengladbach, who finished fourth last season to reach the Champions League for the first time since 1977, will face Hamburg on Wednesday night at The Sevens, before meeting Eintracht Frankfurt two days later.

"We just finished our first training session and I would say the facilities in Dubai are probably the best I have seen in terms of a training camp since I have been a professional," Filip Daems, Moenchengladbach's 34-year-old captain, said yesterday. "Hopefully we can have some valuable training here and enjoy the two games we play later this week."

The friendly matches display further strengthening of the relationship between the German national league and Dubai Sports TV channel, which broadcasts the Bundesliga.

In previous years, visiting German teams have played against a local side. This week, the Jazira match aside, a similar arrangement has not been possible due to scheduling, said Abdulkader Zitouni, head of programming and content for Dubai Sports.

Pro League clubs have lost several of their key players to the ongoing Gulf Cup in Bahrain.

"We tried very hard and spoke with every team, but this year the clubs did not want to be in a position to be involved in such a big game with a lack of their talent," Zitouni said.

"Definitely though, the aim and first priority every year is that whichever team comes here should play against a local team."

gmeenaghan@thenational.ae

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