Saturday , January 28 2023

Rudi Völler speaks on his return to Germany’s DFB!

Rudi Völler will return to the DFB in a new role as director of the men’s national team, as of February 1, 2023. In a press conference on Friday, January 20, DFB president Bernd Neuendorf, DFB vice-president Hans-Joachim Watzke and Rudi Völler spoke about the appointment.

Rudi Völler on…

…his decision: There’s a little bit of déjà-vu when it comes to having an important role such as this, but it’s still not fully comparable. Back then, I was the manager (head coach), whereas now I’m the director of the men’s national team. It took a while for me to decide to do it. After several days and many discussions, I let myself be convinced that this was a good solution – especially for this period leading up to the EUROs. I had actually decided to not take on any new roles following the end of my contract at (Bayer 04) Leverkusen. Part of my decision was based on the fact that it’s only a short time, as well as the fact that we’re hosting the next EUROs. I want to contribute the experience I have over the next 18 months so that we not only showcase ourselves as Germany and as a national side, and enjoy a successful campaign at the EUROs.

…where he will work from: I’m a child of the Rhine-Main region and will have an office here over the next year and a half, while also being in Frankfurt a lot of the time and in Leverkusen. I will commute, just as I’ve done for several years now. I will be around in order to stay close to my co-workers, the players and the coaches. That’s very important to me.

…the challenges ahead: We thought about what we can improve, since we’re also hosting the upcoming EUROs. The most important things are the players and the coach, that we play good football and form a closer bond with the fans. We can’t turn back time to 30 or 40 years ago, but I’m confident that we will be able to achieve this. We need to try to win back the fans that have supported us for so many years already. Our performances aren’t the only factor in this, as we saw a change in this area even before the World Cup in Qatar. We would likely do a couple of things differently now if we could, but that’s what’s happened and we need to put it behind us and see that we manage to win back the fans. The main way to do that is with strong performances. We need to be successful on the pitch and work on building a strong foundation.

…the national team: We may have been eliminated in the group stage, but I still believe that we have a very good team. There are several positions where we might not be as strong anymore. Going into the (FIFA) World Cup, Brazil and France had the best squads in my opinion. In the end, Argentina won although the quality of their players is not better than what we have, however, they were better at putting certain things into action. They played with passion and had the desire to defend everything that came their way. We were also a little bit unlucky, when it came to being eliminated like that. I’m convinced that the team will be serious contenders for the EURO title 18 months from now. It will be important for us to show a different side to ourselves, whether in training or in games. We don’t have any reason to be scared of any other team and shouldn’t belittle ourselves. We have a long way to go over the next 18 months, but I’m confident that we can do it.

…his responsibilities: I have already been in touch with Hansi Flick and we will speak again. We need to be on the same page, because the only way we will be successful is if everyone – the Bundesliga clubs and the DFB – work together. That will be my main task. It was always clear that I would only be focused on these two teams. What can we change about our player development, because players haven’t been getting the teaching needed to develop well? The DFB is always seen as being at fault for everything, but the clubs also have a responsibility. It’s something we can only tackle together. Certain things in the DFB Academy also need to change, but we have to keep certain basics as they are. We need to get back to those.

…the coaching staff: I will discuss with Hansi and the rest of the coaching staff what can be improved on. We won’t only do what the public are demanding us to do. We also need to play good football. Being successful with what we do on the pitch is the most important thing. The head coach is the most important role. Of course we will talk often, but one thing is clear: Hansi Flick is the head coach of the national team and he will make the decisions.

…the players: The players were very self-critical. Despite the wealth of talent we have, sometimes you get the feeling that we didn’t really have the same team spirit and passion that Argentina, Morocco or Croatia had. We were missing those final percentage points, that final spark in order to grab hold of the fans watching back home. Of course, you also need to have a bit of luck, but you also have to work to earn that. We have great players – that’s something they prove all the time with their clubs. We will analyse what happened, but I’m extremely optimistic that we will be successful with these players. We will have a great team for the next (FIFA) World Cup as well. What things will look like after that is what we should rather be concerned about.

Bernd Neuendorf on…

…the decision: Everyone was keeping a close eye on the situation. We spoke to Hansi Flick and Oliver Bierhoff after the (FIFA) World Cup, at which point it became clear that Hansi would continue on and we would need to find a replacement for Oliver Bierhoff to work with the men’s national team and the U21s – someone who would take on responsibility solely for sporting matters. That was what we wanted in the run-up to the EUROs. It’s great that we were able to convince Rudi Völler to get on board. Having him sends an important signal. We believe that Rudi Völler provides a strong feeling of trustworthiness and is also very likeable.

…lessons learned from the (FIFA) World Cup: In terms of the team, I recall that there were several interviews prior to the (FIFA) World Cup where people asked what the DFB would be doing in terms of addressing the human rights issues and what message the team would send. The team spoke openly in several interviews about wanting to send a message. Then came this gesture, which the team thought of doing themselves. The lesson learned is that we need to try to bring in some clarity in order to bring peace to the association and the team.

…the task force: We agreed that it would make sense to continue this work. We will continue to discuss with one another, but without the added pressure and in that manner. The criticism leveled at the DFB by the public is often that the association lacks expertise. It makes sense to look how we can be successful over the long term. This task force is perfect for that.

Hans-Joachim Watzke on…

…Rudi Völler: I’ve known Rudi for a while now. Early on, we often argued but as time has passed, we have grown closer, and a real friendship has formed. He’s the perfect person for this position. It was apparent as soon as he agreed to take it on, because we all had a good feeling about it.

…the search to fill the position: It was at a task force meeting, where I spontaneously said “Rudi, you’d be perfect for the job.” We tend to act based on gut feelings, and that was the trigger moment. We then discussed what would need to change in terms of the sporting side of things. At some point, Rudi said “If you’re all for it, then I’ll do it.” It was a really peaceful decision. Being able to handle conflict is part of the job, after all. Even if anyone had previously disagreed with Rudi Völler, no one said they had been unfairly treated. Rudi has a knack for bringing people together. He helps to connect them.

…areas needing improvement: It’s noticeable when Germany – a country known for its forwards – suddenly doesn’t have any. We need to make it clear to the clubs that it’s possible to defend with passion. That’s something that’s maybe fallen by the wayside. Focusing less on workload management and more on teaching things like willpower. We need to discuss whether we need to set other areas to focus on. The clubs need to act and Rudi Völler is highly respected by the clubs.

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