Updated on 01/12/2023 15:01
If all goes smoothly, as all involved insist, Rudi Voeller will become the German Football Association’s (DFB) sports director next week. His area of responsibility: the national team and nothing else.
The vow of silence applies even to the heads of the German Football Association. At the Bundesliga’s New Year’s Eve reception on Tuesday in Offenbach, DFB President Bernd Neuendorf and his deputy Hans-Joachim “Aki” Watzki have to clear all questions and inquiries.
Two days later, their task force met with the big bosses
The obvious: Fuller should sponsor the national team alone. the DFB He wants to improve the atmosphere surrounding the national team with “Tanti Kati”, as they are known, in the year leading up to the 2024 World Cup on home soil. The Bundesliga will also benefit from this.
Fuller embodies the big three “A”: he is to be a figurehead, a liaison, and a chauffeur. It’s not a full-time job, but it’s tailor-made for him: being there when it counts—and leaving the day-to-day work (junior, women’s, academic) to others.
The task force was unfazed by the stated reservations that Fuller was already 62 years old. The fact that someone who retired early should shape the future of German football seems absurd at first glance.
“There is only one Rudy Fuller!”
With 47 goals in 90 international matches, few sports officials have more experience than the 1990 world champion. At Leverkusen, Fuller shaped Ball’s destiny for 17 years. And he can handle crises too.
When he became national coach in 2000, German football was already on the ground with its high feet. Two years later, he was able to achieve a good average level with the World Vice Championship. Even before that, people were singing: “There’s only one Rudy Fuller!”
At the time there was no appetite or mood for a second effort after the EM debacle of 2004. But now you don’t have to think about perspective: it’s about quick success and a clear focus on the national team and the home European Championship in 2024.
Who will help Fuller?
If Fuller finally approves the staff, the DFB Presidium must suspend the staff. Indeed, voting at the head of the assembly should only be a bureaucratic act: Neuendorf and Watsky are members of the task force. Refusal would be an insult. We can also hear that national coach Hansi Flick has now expressed good faith with Fuller’s decision. Worse had survived: With Matthias Sammer as the DFB’s sporting director, he would have had friction. Everyone on the staff knows that.
It is still not clear who will help Fuller. The second man must go into the details: reforming the promotion of young talents, including scouts, taking care of the national junior teams, and renovating the national team’s infrastructure, including the academy.
There are a lot of candidates. Must be someone with professional business experience. But here you want to concede Fuller, who trusts the mission, and does not expect it. Fuller sets the direction.
The country has good footballers – but their mood is not good and there is no enthusiasm in the team. Fuller can do that. He will not tolerate any confusion such as the embarrassment of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
Pete Gottschalk is a journalist, author and editor-in-chief of SPORT1. Get his free football newsletter, Fever Pit’ch, here.
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