Aston Villa: Paul Lambert plans return to Germany
Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert has begun his plans for next season already by booking a return to his former home in Germany for a pre-season training camp.
Villa's Premier League status for the 2013-14 campaign was only secured on Tuesday night when Wigan Athletic lost 4-1 to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
But Lambert, a Champions League winner with Borussia Dortmund in 1997, has not wasted time in booking a return trip.
Villa will be based in the North Rhine-Westfalia region, close to Dortmund.
Villa, who finished the Premier League season in 15th (a place higher than last year) after Sunday's 2-2 draw at relegated FA Cup winners Wigan Athletic, are due to return to training at Bodymoor Heath on 1 July before heading off on their German training camp six days later.
They will spend nine days in Germany, where former St Mirren, Motherwell, Celtic and Livingston midfielder Lambert helped win the European Cup in his only season with Dortmund 16 years ago.
Villa will play three friendlies, starting against regional league side SV Rodinghausen before games against Bundesliga 2 sides SC Paderborn and VfL Bochum.
After returning to England on 15 July, they have so far lined up more domestic friendlies, against Lambert's old club Wycombe Wanderers, Luton Town, Crewe Alexandra and Walsall.
They then head to the Republic of Ireland to play Shamrock Rovers in Dublin, before a home game against Malaga on 10 August, a week before the new Premier League season kicks off on 17 August.
Next season's fixtures are due to be released on 19 June.