The base of their success
Germans' win sparks celebration in their Brazilian base
MINGLE: Bastian Schweinsteiger (right) dancing with a native at their base camp in Santo Andre before the World Cup.
Germany's victory over Argentina in this morning's (Singapore time) World Cup final sparked huge parties back home, but it was also cause for celebration in a sleepy Brazilian fishing village.
Campo Bahia in Santo Andre, some 1,094 kilometres from the Germans' triumph at Rio de Janeiro's Maracana Stadium, has been attributed with forging the team spirit which carried Germany to a fourth World Cup title.
The remote, purpose-built beach resort cost around 25 million euros ($42m) and Germany's stars have been raving about the tranquil spot which allowed them to focus on bringing the title home.
"It was the perfect solution, as far as us players are concerned," said top-scorer Thomas Mueller, who scored five goals in Brazil.
"It's a totally different atmosphere to a hotel, you could really experience team life, yet everyone had their own space."
The resort was chosen to allow the squad to benefit from the secluded location, yet was only 30km from the nearest airport in Porto Seguro which was reachable only by a car-carrying ferry.
"The village environment was a major factor in forging team spirit," said left back Benedikt Hoewedes.
"We got used to living together and fighting for each other on the pitch."
The usual club-based divisions which hampered Germany teams in the past were not a factor at Brazil 2014, despite the intense rivalry between players from top Bundesliga clubs Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich.
The squad were housed in six-bedroom units around a swimming pool area and was designed to give the players every opportunity to relax after training.
The hotel included a temporary media centre, swiftly dismantled after the team departed on Friday, and a Fifa-regulation pitch which was used to train the new world champions.
The project was initially hit by delays, but was ready when Joachim Loew's squad touched down in Brazil at the start of last month.
The resort's construction was the brain-child of an architect friend of team manager Oliver Bierhoff and was used exclusively by the German FA (DFB) during the World Cup.
Bierhoff had to smooth over local residents' initial complaints given the huge police presence which disrupted village life during the World Cup.
The DFB shipped 23 tonnes of equipment from Germany, including everything from pool tables and dart boards to their own ice machine.
Along with the 23-man squad, the resort housed around 60 support staff including coaches, technicians, medical staff, physiotherapists, two chefs and even an on-site travel agent.
"It came down to four years of preparation for nearly five weeks and this is confirmation of the hard work," said Bierhoff.
"My dream was that players had places to relax, could chat together or with the coaches next to pool, rather than be cooped up in their hotel rooms.
"Given the size of the country and the sometimes very large distances between individual venues, it was important to us to minimise travel stress as much as possible.
"When we caught the ferry back after matches, it was good to know we could switch off and relax.
"By the same token, when the team bus arrived to catch the boat back on our way to the airport for matches, we all knew it was time to switch on again."
Fifa has told the DFB it was one of the best facilities of any of the 32 teams at the World Cup.
Mario Goetze's extra-time winner this morning sparked a party amongst the Campo Bahia staff, who take pride in Germany's achievements despite Die Mannschaft's semi-final drubbing of Brazil.
And tales of when the world champions lived among them will linger long in the memory of sleepy Santo Andre's 900 residents. - AFP.