EVIAN • Germany are continuing to employ a spiritual approach in their preparations thanks to a yoga teacher, whose former pupils include Madonna and Sting, on their books.
Patrick Broome is part of Germany's backroom staff for major tournaments and he puts Die Mannschaft's stars through exercises to relax them physically and mentally.
Now the likes of Thomas Muller, Lukas Podolski and Mats Hummels are no strangers to yoga postures like "lotus", "warrior" and "cobra".
"He's been part of the team since (the 2014 World Cup in) Brazil and he offers courses every day," said veteran forward Podolski at their Euro 2016 base in Evian.
"We can decide for ourselves to take advantage or not. It's not on the training plan that we have to go, but he does a good job."
Broome has accompanied Germany to World Cups and European Championships over the last decade, but became part of the coaching staff officially two years ago.
"To my knowledge, I was the only yoga teacher working with a national team at the World Cup in Brazil," he said.
Broome offers sessions to help the footballers "improve flexibility, concentration and performance on the field" which in turn helps keep them free of injury.
He holds daily sessions of up to 45 minutes to keep the players supple and help their post-game recovery. Only three members of the squad regularly decline to take part.
"Good recovery after a game is essential for the players to maintain their level of performance," says Broome, who is in his 40s and has been practising yoga for 20 years.
It was head coach Joachim Low's predecessor, California-based Jurgen Klinsmann, the coach from 2004 until the 2006 World Cup, who first invited the Munich-based instructor into the German camp.
Low then took it a step further by adding Broome to his backroom staff for Euro 2008.
Broome, who has two yoga studios in Munich, says Low showed "courage" to add yoga sessions to Germany's training regimen 10 years ago.
Good recovery after a game is essential for the players to maintain their level of performance.
PATRICK BROOME, Germany’s designated yoga instructor, on the benefits of his discipline.
"At the time, the German press made fun of the players when they were training with rubber bands, to increase their muscle strength, and yoga with 'all this nonsense'," said the yoga teacher with a smile.
At the players' request, Broome accompanied Germany to Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine.
Through breathing techniques and holding postures, Germany's stars "can let off steam quickly" after a match, said the instructor.
"It also allows them to stretch and experience a different physical experience," he added.
Broome puts the players through a "stripped-down version" of yoga, shorn of incense sticks and other paraphernalia. "With the players, I am much less into the spiritual side of the practice," he said.
Mario Gotze, whose goal won the 2014 World Cup final, is a firm yoga convert and Broome says its spiritual side helps balance the day-to-day pressures placed on the players.
"In our society of 'ever faster, ever more efficient', yoga is also a powerful remedy for stress management," he added.
So far, the fourth star on the German shirts could well be the most striking endorsement of his methods.