They say that champions have an attitude that is a bit different on the pitch as it is off of it. Germany seemed to have not felt the pressure of being in a World Cup. If they did, they really did a great job of hiding it. It must have been their "cold disposition," as many have characterized Germans of having from a cultural standpoint. I would tend to disagree as based on what you saw throughout the World Cup, they seemed to be the loosest squad out there and relished the situation and challenges that were this World Cup.
After lifting the World Cup in Rio, the German players decided to do a dance that was typical of the Pataxó indians in Bahia around the recently earned cup. The dance was also done as a tribute to the people that they befriended during the past month. Those same people gathered a half hour before kickoff to pray that the Germans defeated Argentina at the Maracanã.
Where many saw small houses and vegetation in Santa Cruz Cabrália, DFB manager Oliver Bierhoff saw a very special place where they could do something even more special in this World Cup. Bierhoff checked out every single complex that was available for his squad and this small area was the one that he continued to come back to.
The biggest problem in this sector that Bierhoff fell in love with in southern Bahía was that there was no football pitches, no hotels, or an airport. The DFB, in conjunction with local authorities and with FIFA's approval, began to construct a complex that was one of the most modern and most spacious. They added the latest technology as well as the greatest comforts, including an aerodrome, to be able to prepare for this endeavor. All of this came out of the DFB's (and their sponsors) pocket.
It was great to see a side decide on training in this area of Brazil and even the locals saw this as a great reason for them to take up support for a team that eventually became "their home side". The "cara palidas" (the pale faced) welcomed them with open arms and made them a part of their overall World Cup experience. Thus was the beginning of a great relationship that grew with them as well as with the Bahianos that relished having a greats squad and even better human beings around.
From their first practice to their final press conference, the Pataxó were a part of the Germans training center. During practice sessions, it was all business but during their time off, the players refused to stay behind the walls of their magnificent bunker. Instead, they took in what an even more majestical part of the world had to offer.
Little did they know that they were not just creating something special, they were beginning to create roots within the community that they were in. They dove headfirst into the customs.
When the Germans arrived to their base, they had to place the bus on a pontoon in order to cross the river and get there. While many national teams were locked away from the rest of the world, the German players decided to venture out into theirs. While they were there, they began establishing a relationship with many of the local groups aboriginal tribes that were nearby.
Bastian Schweinsteiger and Manuel Neuer were getting samba lessons on the beach and at times played with local kids. Lucas Podolski and others would be taking in what their temporary home was offering them. Even Miroslav Klose celebrated his 36th birthday dancing with the natives and being given tribute.
So after they won the World Cup for a fourth time, Germany gifted fans from all over with some scintillating football. Yet their greatest gift was for the people that they built a relationship with during their time there. The German federation decided to donate the complex they built from scratch to the supporters that made the Mannschafft feel like they were home. That move was quite unexpected but well received. The players also donated over US$ 13,000 for the community to buy an ambulance. Also part of that resort that was built by the DFB is reportedly going to be turned into a school.
Yes, the German national team became the first national team to win on South American soil. Yet their legacy to the people of Bahia will be greater as they became the first federation in World Cup history to build their own World Cup complex, or should I say a complex for the people.