Rudi Völler will be director of the DFB team before the 2024 European Football Championship

Wann always important in the German Football Association (DFB) discussed and a helper in need was sought, Rudi Völler was already there. This is what happened on July 2, 2000, when the association was looking for a bridging coach after the disastrous end in the group phase of the European Championships in the Netherlands and Belgium and the resignation of the overwhelmed team boss Erich Ribbeck.

After the crash at Euro 2000, the designated national coach Christoph Daum, who was scheduled to start in the summer of 2001, was not yet available because he was the head coach of the Bundesliga club Bayer 04 Leverkusen. But another Leverkusener: the Bayer sports director crouching in the selection round fullerwho did not want to contradict the gentle request of the then DFB President Gerhard Mayer-Vorfelder (“Do it, Rudi”).

Completely one like only “Us Uwe”

Völler did as before Franz Beckenbauerwho was appointed team boss in 1984 without any certificate as a football coach, then led the national team to second place at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico and four years later, after an exhilarating tournament in Italy, gave his country the world championship title after beating Argentina 1-0 in the final and then said goodbye as the then untouchable “Emperor”.

Team boss Völler also lacked the necessary papers for his supposed temporary job at the highest level. Like Beckenbauer, he compensated for the lack of training for the highest coaching qualification with the knowledge gained over two decades as a world-class player about everything a team can do successfully at a high level.

Hans-Joachim Watzke (left), spokesman for the DFL Executive Committee, presented Völler with the honorary award at the New Year's reception.

Hans-Joachim Watzke (left), spokesman for the DFL Executive Committee, presented Völler with the honorary award at the New Year’s reception.

Image: dpa

Since Daum was exposed as a cocaine user a few months after Völler’s appointment and was therefore no longer suitable for the national coaching job, Völler led his outsider team to second place at the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan and went two years later than the German team failed in the group matches at the European Championships in Portugal.

As a fearless striker and one of the world champions of the 1990 luminaries, he returned without complaint to his position as sports director and later sports director at the Bundesliga club Bayer 04 Leverkusen return. The fact that the ninety-time national player, popular in Germany because of his down-to-earthness like only the Hamburg center forward Uwe Seeler before him, is now returning to the DFB is a particularly nice volte in his long life as a football protagonist on the pitch, on the coaching bench and at the managerial level Bundesliga.

Now he was back in 2000 in a group of experts looking for a successor to the DFB director who resigned after the messed up 2022 World Cup in Qatar Oliver Bierhoff searched and didn’t really find anything at first. The association, which is currently not drawing from full resources, did not want to pay a transfer fee for Fredi Bobic, sports manager at Hertha BSC, who was initially considered a favourite. There were also enough critical voices who doubted Bobic’s qualifications for this job.

Once again, there was no top candidate when the panel of experts around DFB President Bernd Neuendorf and DFB Vice President Hans-Joachim Watzke met with football champions Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Oliver Kahn, Matthias Sammer and Oliver Mintzlaff, the former CEO of the Bundesliga club RB Leipzig. But it didn’t matter because the indestructible jack of all trades Völler, who retired from Bayer 04 last year, was also a member of the task force.

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