is only a small town, but center of a football crazy region. The club first
fully emerged in the 1950's when they became German champions twice. They
were lead then by one of the greatest German players ever, 'Fritz Walter',
who was famous for his technical skill and lead Germany as captain to become
World champions 1954. Since Bundesliga was installed, they have been
a first level member, apart from the 1996/1997 intermezzo. After being
a team for the second half of the table most of the years, they had very
succesful periods in the late 1970's/early 80's and in the first half of
the 90's when they became cup winners 1990, surprise champions 1991 and
vice champions 1994. (In the year of relegation they won the cup
club is concious of his position in the region and taking this involvement
into consideration in the long term planning (stadium, training devices,
pitches for young players etc.). It looks a lot as Kaiserslautern can secure
their place as at least one of the top ten football adresses in Germany
(long term view, considering success, region, fans, history, European meaning,
infrastructure etc.). The stadium is regularly sold out (even had been
in the 2nd Bundesliga) with about 40,000 capacity. Not bad for a town with
about only 100,000 inhabitants.
the championship is considered as a masterpiece by the coach Otto Rehhagel,
who will continue his work at Kaiserslautern. His greatest assets are his
organisation of the players as a social group and his parallel abilities
of concentrating the team on the next match and continous medium, maybe
even long term planning. Often he has had private contacts with players
he wishes to add to his group for years. He asks total control over his
section, he wants to be responsible for all details concerning training,
matches, and composition of the squad.
long coaching career he has been attached all possible and contradictory
labels. His person proves what worth those labels have. He started successful
coaching at Kickers Offenbach in the seventies and in the following he
bacame known as a specialist for 'short term motivation' jobs. When a club
was in danger to become relegated his name was on the list to replace the
actual coach. But was not allowed to stay long as there seemed to have
been not enough faith in his long term abilities. Once he became fired
after losing a last match of the season 0:12 against a team for whom the
goal difference was important in the fight for championship (it had not
been enough, 0:15 or 0:16 would have done it).
he came to Bremen ('Werder Bremen') where he later was given the knickname
'King Otto' for his successes and for his way to lead the team. He took
over the just relegated club in the 2nd Bundesliga (a parallel to Kaiserslautern
now) and transformed them into a long term successful team with two Bundesliga
championships, several vice-championships, two FA ('DFB') cups, and
one European Cup Winners Cup.
he had not always been 'King Otto' at Bremen. After some years Bundesliga
he had been labelled 'Otto the second' (Some German Kaisers had had the
name Otto). He had been twice 5th and three times 2nd. And the third (the
second consecutive) vice-championship had been bitter as a big lead had
been squandered in the final phase of the season. His ability to lead a
team to championship was questioned. And when the next year Bremen became
'only' 5th again (the sixth consecutive year among the first five) he was
questioned even more. 'To long with the team', 'he can't motivate the players
anymore', etc. The club leadership sticked to him and the very next year
Werder Bremen became champions and Otto Rehhagel suddenly the long-term
'King'. The same happened on the European level. The team had to earn experience
first (losses against clubs like Odessa) before finally having great battles
against Neapel or Milan.
he had to decide whether he would stay at Bremen forever or take one of
the big clubs offers. He signed at Bayern Munich but came into a much different
context. A problematic media situation, vain players, and the former international
stars Hoeness, Beckenbauer (who even had been successful as coach), Rummenigge
in the administration, did not leave him with as much room as before in
Bremen or later at Kaiserslautern, to plan and succeed. All details of
his work were discussed by players, those administrative heads, and journalists,
in the press. He insisted he would be successful anyway but he was fired
before the end of the season.
player Rehhagel was known as a tough defender. Knowadays his philosophy
is diffferent. He is criticising the sliding tackling for several reasons.
He has spoken
very positively of the FC Barcelona style (probably of the Cruyff area)
of passing, ball control, and attacking. Bremen played a slower version
what was sarcastically labelled as 'controlled attacking' by
journalists because it sometimes looked like another form of defence ('if
you possess the ball the others won't score') rather than a dominating
pressure. A difference to that Barcelona style is the emphasis of the right
and left lanes. Kaiserslautern is very dangerous especially on the right
wing where a pair of players, Buck and Ratinho are playing. But the left
wing with Wagner is dangerous, too. So he is able to add the threat in
the air with players like Marschall at Kaiserslautern and before Riedle
football it is quite seldom to find such a consistent work with a goup
of a particular character, maybe this is one of the reasons for the success.
In the same time other big clubs restart again with new stars, a new coach,
and a new philosophy. Reaching a high level then quickly is also a question
of chance, not only of millions. Only Schalke too has stuck to their philosophy
for a longer period now.
here we approach a difference between Schalke and Kaiserslautern and the
biggest problem in the work of Otto Rehhagel: When he leaves he leaves
no structures behind. Due to the fact that all responsibilities are concentrated
in this one person all structures are within him. Bremen had a lot of problems
after his departure. At Schalke manager Assauer claims he set up a system
that guarantuees consistent work and philosophy even after a coach change
but the question is, will this be the case too when the manager changes?
(In Germany the 'manager' is not involved in any coaching or team selection
questions. At some clubs there a managers even without football background.
His job is the general and financial planning, at some clubs the managers
are also responsible for the squad compostion, for hiring and sending away
it is conspicious that the whole relegated defence and attack came
back but the midfield was almost fully replaced...
|had he been member of the relegated team 95/96?
|how was he really considered in the press before the 97/98 season?
|how is he considered after the championship?
|next year regular?
|Andreas Reincke (xx, keeper)
|inconsistent, only as substitute for the later injured Czech national
|had some errors, but won some points too.
|has to battle it out with new keeper Gospodarek from Bochum
|Axel Roos (xx, defender)
|too old, too slow for Bundesliga, discussed at no other club
|reliable as ever, concentrated, fighting
|yes (probably in change with new defender Hany Ramzy from Bremen)
|Harry Koch (xx, defender)
|Bundesliga level too high, discussed at no other club
|reliable, concentrated, fighting
|yes (see Roos)
|Miroslav Kadlec (xx, Czech, defender)
|too old, too slow, at the end of his career
|most important defence organisator, important for build-up
|no, goes home to Czech Rep, ends his professional career, will be replaced
by Egyptian Samir from Al Ahly Cairo.
|Michael Schjönberg (xx, Danmark, defender)
|2nd Bundesliga level player (had played there before)
|defensive key figure, winning mentality, fighting
|Roger Lutz (xx, midfield or defender)
|too old, not good enough, member of the amateur squad, the second team
|experienced and valuable fill-holes player
|will remain in his stand-by mode between second and first team, can
play anytime on first level
|Andreas Brehme (xx, midfield player)
|old but maybe valuable because of his experience, had been World champion
1990 but also tragic key figure in the relegation season
|stand-by player but also important for the team because of his attitude
and experience, advices in daily work
|no, ends career but will remain in club
|Ratinho (xx, Brazilian, midfield)
|even only replacement in the 2nd Bundesliga, what wants Rehhagel with
|most valuable creative player, one of the main elements
|Alexander Buck (xx, midfield, right wing)
|failed at Stuttgart after promising career start, mentally unfit for
|fast, creating dangerous situations, many do not understand why he
was not selected for France98
|Ciriaco Sforza (swiss, midfield)
|the only real first level player, but questionable because of injuries
and also his role/success at Inter Mailand the year before was questionned
(failure or not?)
|although not completely healthy, the key figure of the team, controlling
the ball play by his technical and visionary skills
|yes, had been the only player with very good prospects to find a new
team but sticked with his club
|after some injuries the qualities of the former German international
had been forgotten, his health sometimes questioned
|as important on the left wing as Buck and Ratinho are on the right.
He impresses more by his power and his shooting.
|young talent, emerging from the youth team with prospects for the German
|injury ridden forward, who did not performed up to the expectations,
not discussed at other clubs
|one of the four best German strikers, member of the German national
team at France, especially technically strong and with a brilliant eye
for the situation. Still problems with injuries.
|yes, but wanted to leave after relegation, was forced to fulfil his
|unlucky, seemed to have lost chance in the relagation season where
he squandered many opportunities what did cost not only Kaiserslautern
the first Bundesliga but Czech Rep the World Cup qualification. Anyway
|still a bit unlucky and not first choice anymore. Marschall always
and Rische often had preferred to him.
|no, left for Nürnberg and is replaced by Uwe Rösler (Manchester
|only good enough for the 2nd Bundesliga, not discussed at other clubs
|not a regular, but when he came in he was scorer of important goals
|Marian Hristov (xx, Bulgarian, forward
|unknown Bulgarian, no strong addition, injured right away
|severly injured he came back in the second half of the season to score
5 important goals
|Otto Rehhagel, 59, coach
|stubborn, unable to cooperate with criticising administratives, players,
or media, self-satisfied, only successful in 2nd Bundesliga because the
team consisted of first level professionals, antique training methods
|wise, great social leader (human qualities), miracle-man, transformed
mediocre side into champions, visionary reflections of contemporary football
|players not listed: Michael Ballack (mf), big talent, expected
to become a regular and candidate for Berti Vogts, Oliver Schäfer
(def) reliable defender, used in 10 matches, technically not the most skillful,
member of the relegated team, Thomas Riedl, a talent that did not accomplish
yet to receive the faith of Otto Rehhagel (son of a former popular Kaiserslautern
player and with a good start in the relegation year) and a bunch of (yet)
seldom used replacements.