Despite a thunderstorm during the day, fans were not deterred from gathering at the Dietmar Hopp stadium to greet the players at 5.00 pm yesterday. As well as the familiar faces there were also some new recruits for the fans to get to know. Stephan Schröck, Takashi Usami, Mathieu Delpierre, Kevin Volland and Michael Gregoritsch were just five new players training with the team for the very first time. Ahmed Sassi and Jens Grahl, who were in the under-23 team last season, also took their place alongside the senior players.
The fans were made to wait for some more recognised faces, however, as Fabian Johnson, Tim Wiese and Isaac Vorsah were unavailable. Johnson and Vorsah have been granted extended holiday on account of their action for the USA and Ghana national teams respectively, while Wiese is currently with the Germany squad at the European Championships in Poland and Ukraine. Marquee signing Eren Derdiyok was not present yesterday afternoon; he will join up with the rest of the squad next Monday when they travel to their training base in Füssen, Bavaria. Icelandic midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson was also due to return to the club this week after a loan spell in the Premier league with Swansea City, but he is expected to make a permanent move back to England and has been given until the end of the month to iron out the details of a transfer.
“There were so many supporters there and that gives us a great feeling”, said Volland enthusiastically into the microphone of stadium announcer Mike Diehl. “I'm looking forward to a lot of great games in the new season.”