When the german national team competes on 17. When the soccer-mad stephan heinzler starts the world cup tournament against mexico in the lushniki stadium on june 6, he has already traveled several kilometers: from coburg, with a stopover on the baltic coast, to moscow – and that alone in a van plus trailer that he bought especially for the trip.
The stop in the russian capital is only the beginning of the journey through the roughest country in the world. The 47-year-old from coburg wants to lead the "team accompany at every game. Already an ambitious plan in the preliminary round, the other german group matches will take place in sochi (1700 kilometers away from moscow) and in kasan (2100 kilometers away from sochi). In the eighth final – provided that germany wins the group – it was then on to st. Petersburg (1600 kilometers from kasan) go.
Sprinter with bed and refrigerator
"How many kilometers there will be in the end, depends of course on the performance of the germans, but it could be 23000 to 27 000 kilometers", says the coburg native, who worked as a medical-technical radiology assistant for 22 years. Heinzler has not been able to work in his profession for some time due to health reasons. "I thought to myself, I must do something meaningful, then I had this idea in january. That was my dream."
In april, the man from coburg made a nail with his head and bought a used transporter that had previously served as a surveying vehicle for german telekom.
In the past few weeks, he has rebuilt it for his needs – among other things, the vehicle is now equipped with a double bed and a refrigerator.
World cup ticket as a visa
And heinzler also didn't want to leave anything to chance when it came to the vehicle's exterior. Was the varnish still "virgin" a few days before his departure?, the van has meanwhile been pimped out with germany stickers on the sides of the vehicle. After the trip, the appearance of the sprinter will be adjusted again, because heinzler wanted to use it professionally. He could imagine to start his own business and offer transport for companies.
The man from coburg left for his trip a few days ago – before he sets off for russia next week, he will visit friends and acquaintances all over germany. Heinzler does not need a tourist visa to enter the world cup country, as is usually the case in russia, because a world cup ticket for any game replaces the entry document.
The ticket for the match between germany and mexico was not cheap for heinzler. The man from coburg had to pay a hefty 538 euros for a category 2 ticket on the online ticket broker viagogo. For the other parts he ubrigens still no tickets, he hopes for schnappchen directly on the spot.
Spontaneity is the 47-year-old's greatest travel trump card anyway – as was the case with the overnight stay. "I will sleep probably mostly outside in the tent, whether on a campground or in the pampas one will see. I am self-sufficient, do not necessarily need electricity." Heinzler won't be lacking for means of transportation, among other things he will be taking a motorcycle and a bicycle with him on his trailer. He has no safety concerns. "From my point of view, russia is the safest country in the world during the world cup, says heinzler, who will probably have to improvise a bit with the language as well. "I have a german-russian dictionary from the second world war that my uncle gave me. The rest is up to mr. Google'", he explains.
For his rough adventure heinzler has the backing of his family. "My 19-year-old daughter lisa thinks it's great and is fully behind the idea", says the club fan.
Only france as a competitor
In sporting terms, heinzler believes the german team can defend its title at the world championships: "the team is even stronger than it was four years ago. In my eyes, there is only one competitor, and that is france, which is perhaps even better than us. But all the others are beatable."
The 47-year-old agrees with the german world cup squad with one exception. "I don't understand how you can't take sandro wagner with you. He is a real breaker who can clear the way for the midfielders", he explains.
On the "newer" issue heinzler also has a clear opinion: "the nomination is absolutely right. Since the england game at the 2010 world cup, when he passed the ball to the english team after they had supposedly scored, he has been the best goalkeeper in the world for me."
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