Rudi Völler (61) even revealed his preferences for grilling …
The sports director of Bayer Leverkusen was open to questions and answers to five SPORT BILD readers who had been drawn as part of the “Meet your star” campaign. “I love bratwurst – very traditional with mustard. Meanwhile, I don’t particularly like currywurst and I certainly don’t like sausage with cheese filling, ”said the 1990 world champion.
Rudi Völler in the reader interrogation
Reader Hennes Granel (65): After the upheaval in Bayer 04’s offensive last year, the defensive follows. The benders are gone, Dragovic. Tah is traded as a finish, including Tapsoba. Are top people coming?
Rudi Völler: We have been adjusting to this for months and know that we have to step up. We have some great ideas. Now we have to see what can be done after this difficult year without spectators with the economic pressures created by the pandemic. I can say about Tapsoba: like Florian Wirtz and Moussa Diaby, he extended the contract for the long term. Basically, we have no intention of making any of these players – unless an immoral offer comes along. But that won’t happen this summer. We want to have a little more fun with these players.
Christian Glanz (40): What are your three golden rules for talent?
There are no three golden rules in this sense. In the end, it always depends on the player himself, and everyone is different. Basically, that is of course the prerequisite for making it, a young player has to want to give everything for football. He has to work day and night to keep improving. As we used to say, go to bed with the bullet. Then the ball will be his friend. This is where it becomes clear whether someone is good or very good. The receiving and carrying of the ball must be close to perfection. Messi has never jumped the ball. Or our Kai Havertz. I still say our quay. Now he has shot Chelsea to win the Champions League title. When you look at the gate, it looks so simple. But: How he accepted the ball at full speed and took it with him – that is the highest quality. If the ball jumps only half a meter away from him, he does not score the goal. Kai combines technology and speed. Whoever has that has a great career ahead of them.
Glanz: Are you still in contact with Kai Havertz?
He had a period when he started at Chelsea when things weren’t going so well for him. This was also due to the fact that he had to overcome a severe corona infection. I had brief contact with him then. When things got better again, I once sent him a text message. And of course I congratulated him after winning the final. Kai really deserved this title, I wrote that to him. Although he probably got hundreds of these text messages, he replied at four o’clock in the morning. So I assume that he was happy. I was definitely very happy for him. He came to us at the age of eleven, was here for ten years and is a really decent boy.
Tobias Korte (40): How can you keep FC Bayern from the tenth German championship in a row?
Like many others, I took the approach that you have to be there when Bayern is weak. You’ve probably shown a little weakness in two or three years in the past nine years as well. Nevertheless, they have become masters. The fact that the Dortmund, Leipzig, Wolfsburg and we could not take advantage of that was often criticized. But there is no recipe against Bayern. You do it very well – even with a lot of money. You make few mistakes and have a top team. From Leipzig, which was the closest in the last time, they have now brought their coach Julian Nagelsmann and the best central defender with Dayot Upamecano. That’s just how they are, the Bavarians … (laughs).
Christian Zender (39): After your time as DFB team boss and the station at AS Rom, you worked again as sports director. Why not more as a trainer?
After quitting the DFB in 2004, I wanted to take a break. Then I stepped in at short notice for my ex-club AS Roma because they had an emergency. It was an affair of the heart – but also a mistake. That’s why I didn’t stay long. I already knew after my active career that my future lies more in management. It was never my goal to pursue a career as a coach.
Holger Wahlig (48): As national coach, you gave the legendary interview with Waldemar Hartmann. What interests me: How did you feel afterwards?
The days after that were very turbulent. At first the public tendency was a bit against me. But that turned quickly. The interview was a burden for me personally. Always being asked about it wasn’t nice. But it’s part of my life. Waldi is of course happy. He extended his contract with Paulaner three times and earned good money. That’s why he always pays my lid when we meet (laughs).
Zender: How is your relationship today with Frank Rijkaard, who spat on you several times at the 1990 World Cup?
(smiles) We’re still not going on vacation together … That was what happened back then. We both flew off the field. The Argentine referee who passed away took to the grave why he showed me the red card. Incidentally, the only straight red card in my career! The rivalry between Holland and Germany was at its height in 1990. Frank Rijkaard just lost his nerve. Later he apologized. Together we did an advertisement for a Dutch butter. We donated the entire fee, including his share, to the Egidius Braun Foundation for aid to Mexico. I know that the whole thing weighed on him for a long time.
Zender: Will Mats Hummels and Thomas Müller be the puzzle pieces for a successful EM this year?
It was a good decision from Jogi Löw to bring her back. If we survive the group stage, in which we have the toughest opponents with France and Portugal, we can go very far. Our team is strong. She can play for the title if she asserts herself in the group.
Photo: Ottmar Winter
Glanz: Were you shocked by the relegation of your ex-club Werder Bremen?
Eight weeks before the end of the season, I didn’t think it would be possible for Werder to slip right back into the bottom. Bremen and, conversely, Mainz are examples of how unpredictable football is.
Glanz: Did you actually have an offer from Bremen when you moved from Marseille to Leverkusen in 1994?
The five years at Werder in the 80s were among the best of my career. I was the top scorer, footballer of the year, had great teammates and Otto Rehhagel was a wonderful coach. I am still in contact with him today. Nevertheless, Bremen was not an issue in 1994. I was 34 years old, had played the World Cup in the USA and had the feeling that my career was slowly coming to an end. I thought that I might be able to play in Leverkusen for another year. The 1994/95 season was really good. In the second year, however, I noticed how difficult it was for me. I’ve been injured a lot. In the end I thought to myself: Maybe it was a year too long after all.
Zender: You rejected the office of DFB President. What are your expectations of Fritz Keller’s successor?
I was never asked officially. But in this business you are quickly brought into conversation. I reacted to this and stated that the office was out of the question for me. It has to be done by someone who moderates professional and amateur football well. It is a difficult task. Some presidents have already failed because of this. I think that somebody could do it who doesn’t come directly from soccer, but maybe from politics or business – of course with a connection to soccer.