As soon as all players are sitting in the team bus, the food is distributed. The ambitious second division team’s match has been over for about an hour, the return journey to southern Germany is long. Beige boxes made of foamed polystyrene wander through the rows. Under the snap lids: warmed-up meatballs with potato salad soaked in mayonnaise. The association’s budget is more than 30 million euros. But the food that you offer your players has the level of a district league.
“It is partly beyond good and evil what football professionals are offered in terms of food,” says nutrition expert Marius Herkommer. “Regardless of whether in the highest or second-highest division, the need for improvement in terms of nutrition is still high for some clubs.” It is important, especially after a load, to start the regeneration with the right food, according to Herkommer. “It doesn’t work with mayonnaise or cutlets that don’t contain any vitamins or minerals. You can even gain a competitive advantage if you immediately start the perfect regeneration, but this awareness has not yet prevailed in all clubs. ”(Read also: This is why social media is so important for footballers – and at the same time so dangerous)
What the clubs miss, nutritional professionals catch up with players individually
There are clubs that offer green, unripe bananas as a snack at half-time. “It takes much longer to convert the starch of a primarily green banana to sugar than, for example, dates. The athlete takes energy from his body by converting starch into sugar, but unfortunately many are not aware of this. That’s why I prefer dates because the sugar they contain is available more quickly and the athlete has to spend less energy. ”Nutrition consultant Marius Herkommer makes up for what clubs sometimes miss with professionals.
For example with national team player Luca Waldschmidt (23). “Until I was 17, my understanding of nutrition was: Salad is healthy and you need pasta before a game. That was it. ”Then he suffered from skin problems and a doctor pointed out that nutrition could play a role. Waldschmidt did without dairy products – and the skin became better. “I understood then,” he says, “that there is a direct connection. That the right or wrong diet has direct consequences for the body. ”
When Waldschmidt, at that time near Frankfurt, was injured due to injury, he began to deal intensively with the topic of nutrition. “At some point I tried to omit meat. As a result, I felt lighter, which may sound stupid. ”Waldschmidt knows, however, that“ it is not just a matter of foregoing milk and meat. ”
And that’s where – at least with Waldschmidt – nutritionist Herkommer comes into play. “I still have to get my calories, the micro and macro nutrient intake. I learned that from Marius. It brings order and variety to my table. Helps me get new inspiration and not eat monotonously. ”Herkommer goes shopping with Waldschmidt and cooks with him. “I even enjoy it now. If you cook yourself and then taste it, it makes you a little proud, ”says the shooting star of the U21 European Championship. (Also read: How German football scouts its youngsters broken)
“The consultant has turned my world of nutrition upside down”
And Herkommer does even more: he found a restaurant for Waldschmidt in Freiburg that cooks for the offensive star on days when he himself doesn’t have time for it. Every Thursday Herkommer receives the card for the following week. He checks them and discusses which dishes are suitable – and which are not. “If there are, for example, oven-cooked vegetables with a cream dip, I have the cream dip exchanged for a dip based on soy, coconut or almond for Luca. I generally advise against processed products because they are usually low in nutrients. However, the athletes can also treat themselves to something. The mental component always plays an important role for me. ”
Herkommer helps, creates awareness. Also at Schalkes Suat Serdar (22), who together with Waldschmidt became U21 Vice European Champion in 2019. At that time, Serdar regularly used chocolate cakes at the buffet. In contrast to teammate Omar Mascarell. Serdar asked him if he didn’t like it. And received a lecture on nutrition from Mascarell, who was five years older, and which impressed Serdar. “When Mascarell said he regretted not having started earlier, I spoke to my advisor. But I didn’t want a nutritionist to just send me a plan and tell me what to look out for. But someone who explains everything to me and really helps. The solution was called Marius. He turned my world of nutrition upside down. I get up in the morning with more energy, I’m fresher, ”says Serdar after six months. By the way, we have since hired Herkommer as an agency.
Our columnist Kai Psotta works for the player adviser agency Sports-Total (including Toni Kroos, Luca Waldschmidt, Suat Serdar). He wrote the bestsellers “Mythos Real Madrid”, “The Godfathers of the League” and (with Norbert Elgert) “Give up everything – just never give up!” You can find all of his columns here