On Thursday, Borussia Dortmund will be setting off with a party of 49 for their nine-day training camp in La Manga at the Costa Cálida, Spain. For BVB’s equipment manager Frank Gräfen and for besttravel’s Thomas Hess, this trip presents a number of logistical challenges.

With the team bus loaded to the grills, bus driver Christian Schulz already left for Spain on Monday night. “Except for two seats, we used all the space available,” said Gräfen who already has some experience when it comes to the “operation winter training camp”. This year, however, he was presented with a new challenge. As the team will make a stopover in Kaiserslautern on their way home, the winter equipment also had to be packed. Gräfen: “You just never know how cold it might get.”

Gräfen’s efforts and foresightedness will surely be appreciated by both the players and the coaches as, in fact, the long-term forecast for Kaiserslautern on 18 January is around 0 degrees Celsius.

Thomas Hess

In contrast, on Spain’s Costa Cálida BVB will find warm weather, with the temperatures expected to reach up to 20° C, though the afternoons are predicted to be chilly. There are even thunderstorms in the forecast. Accordingly, Gräfen has packed for every eventuality. Each of the 26 players and each of the coaches will have two training, wind and rain jackets as well as two sets of shirts, sweaters, socks, short and long trousers at his disposal.

For the three friendlies against Standard Liege (Saturday 1600 CET), VfL Bochum (Tuesday 1500 CET) and Kaiserslautern on 18 January (1530 CET), Borussia’s equipment manager also packed 130 shirts: three yellow home kits as well as two black away kits. Gräfen explained: “I don’t know what colours the other teams will be wearing.”

Frank Gräfen leaves nothing to chance, and neither does Thomas Hess who had inspected the facilities himself even if the club had already stayed there in the previous years. For years, the head of the Dortmund affiliate of besttravel GmbH is ensuring that things are running smoothly in La Manga – and that special requests are fulfilled.

On Thursday, a charter flight will take the team, including Mats Hummels -only Neven Subotic stays home to continue his rehab programme - to the airport of Murcia San-Javier from where it takes about 45 minutes on the team bus to La Manga. The return trip will be a bit more complicated. On 17 January, the BVB team will fly from Murcia to Frankfurt instead of Zweibrücken (near Kaiserslautern) as their plane would be too heavy to land there. While a part of the delegation will then head by bus to Dortmund, the coaching staff and the players stay overnight in the region before travelling to Kaiserslautern for the friendly the following day.