''So when I’m lying in my bed – Thoughts running through my head'' - So go the last lines of the refrain of the Robbie Williams song ''Angels.'' The karaoke classic is a song which BVB U23 coach Mike Tullberg won't be forgetting any time soon: it will always be something that he'll associate with his first few days in charge of the Black & Yellows.
It's Tuesday evening in Kirchberg, Austria. For the last four days now, the young Borussia players have been busy preparing themselves for the upcoming Regionalliga season. The squad spent the morning in training, the afternoon on a rafting tour, and now, high up in the Kitzbuhel Alps, it's time to get together for a communal dinner. Sat down in front of the stunning scenery, the entire group - 22 players, coaching team and support staff - take some time to reflect on their first few days together. A few years ago, a new ritual was added to the squad's pre-season training camp: to help encourage bonding among the squad, each new arrival must take to the stage to sing a song.
One of these new arrivals is Mike Tullberg, who, in his own words, ''sang loudly, but not necessarily well.'' But that's not what it's about. In a way, the Dane's performance ties in nicely with his approach to football: ''I expect my players to be courageous. But that courage also has to come from me, that's why it was important that I got up to sing as well.''
In addition to his players' singing exploits, Tullberg was also keen to praise their hard work in training: ''The boys have done a great job here. We've worked a lot on our attacking play in the last few days, in the next few sessions we're going to shift the focus onto defensive work.'' Everything has come together nicely for Tullberg and his team, with consistently pleasant weather and a training ground in excellent condition. The emphasis has very much been on the tactical side of the game, with less focus being placed on fitness, partly as a result of the hard work the players had done before the group met up. Core elements of the sessions have been how best to work the ball in possession as well as Gegenpressing. ''We want to try and find ways to play around teams that sit deep. That's something we're going to be faced with a lot in the league, so it's important we're ready for it,'' said Tullberg as he discussed the format of his training programme.
Off the pitch, the Dane has been enthused by the sense of unity which has formed around the group: ''We have a lot of new players, a new coach too. I had hoped that everything would go as well as it has done, but I can't say I necessarily expected it.'' The players were given a day-off on Wednesday. From Thursday onward there will be two training sessions a day. Friday will see the Black & Yellows play their third warm-up match: Austria Salzburg are the opponents this time round, with the match scheduled to kick off at 18:30 CET. On Sunday, the group will make the trip back to Dortmund. Then there will be just three weeks to go until the Regionalliga gets underway again. One thing's for sure: BVB can go into the new season knowing they've laid the perfect foundations for a successful campaign.