A special place for a special interview – it’s the first joint interview with sporting director Frank Baumann and head coach Florian Kohfeldt. From the stands of the Weser-Stadion, they spoke about their work together at the club, assembling the squad and their expectations of the 2018/19 season.
WERDER MAGAZINE: What has been your favourite moment here in the Weser-Stadion?
FRANK BAUMANN: “When you’ve been here for a long time, it is tricky to pick out one single moment. If I had to pick one moment, it would be when we lifted the Bundesliga trophy in 2004 even if the game before hadn’t gone well at all (Frank Baumann was captain as Werder lost 6-2 to Bayer Leverkusen). Everything had been forgotten within five minutes of the match ending (laughs).”
FLORIAN KOHFELDT: “For me, the most unbelievable moment was the final day 1-0 victory against Eintracht Frankfurt in the 2015/16 season when I was assistant coach. It was simply madness, from when we arrived in the stadium to what happened in the match.”
WERDER MAGAZINE: What role does the Weser-Stadion play for you and your team?
FLORIAN KOHFELDT: “we are at home here. I think it’s a major advantage for us that we are here every day and that our training pitches are not located elsewhere. The first thing that I see each day, as I walk through Gate 1 of the stadium to my office, is the pitch and it’s the same for the players. Besides, we are in the middle of the city which has a large emotional meaning to the club. The Weser-Stadion is therefore not just a workplace for us, but also a very important symbol.”
WERDER MAGAZINE: What have you learnt from your preparations for this season?
FLORIAN KOHFELDT: “An important thing was finding out that we have a team who are willing to work, wanting to learn and ready to strive for it. These are good characteristics. It is very easy to say: “it’s the norm”. However the players had to admit to themselves that things will be done differently to what they were familiar with. They have adapted well and this wasn’t guaranteed.”
WERDER MAGAZINE: Frank, in which areas do Florian Kohfeldt and his coaching team work especially well?
FRANK BAUMANN: “It it difficult to achieve something that has never been done before. It is much more important to see expected benefits. The deciding factor is how the team comes together. You can watch so many video analyses but if the content isn’t effective then the team won’t benefit from it. And showing the players videos from training involves everyone coming together and sitting down, which is a true challenge and demands lots of lot work from the coaching team and analysts. It helps if there is a lot of confidence and you know what the team is trying to get across to everyone. From day one, Florian and his team have shown how precisely they plan work, how ambitious they are and the passion they bring to work each day. The entire team work very professionally and provide the players with the best working conditions possible. All of this exemplifies what they expect of the team.”
WERDER MAGAZINE: Did the changes in personnel this summer ultimately have a larger impact than you had hoped for?
FRANK BAUMANN: "The framework changed a bit, which we expected and deemed necessary to make the next step in our development. You need certain continuity to do this and we have that but you also need new influences to develop your squad further. We kept important assets including Jiri Pavlenka, Niklas Moisander, Philipp Bargfrede, Maxi Eggestein and Max Kruse. We then specifically strengthened the team based on that. All in all, we’re very satisfied with the changes."
WERDER MAGAZINE: What fundamental principles does the squad possess?
FLORIAN KOHFELDT: “Very early on we considered what was important to us and came up with profiles for particular positions to know exactly what type of player we needed. It wasn’t just me and Frank who had a say in this, but also the assistant coaches and the scouting teams.”