Kovac as Bayern coach? "I would not have believed him then"

With four times champion Michael Tarnat he won the Champions League. Today he leads the Hanover talent factory 96 – and he has a clear vision. This has a lot to do with his former club.

Everything is cleaned up, there is nothing on it. Michael Tarnat likes it clear and structured that suggests at least his office, which does not seem uncomfortable anyway. And just as uncluttered as his workplace, the head of the Young Talent Center (NLZ) of Hannover 96 presented in an interview. It quickly becomes clear: this man is very enthusiastic about his work.

t-online.de: Mr. Tarnat, what does a typical working day look like for you?

Michael Tarnat: At nine o'clock I come to the office, answer e-mails and do other office work. There are z. I also call consultants who offer me players or talk to me about the development of their protégés. Then I exchange with the trainers of our U-teams about the training impressions and the upcoming matches. Then video studies are on the program and I analyze games where I could not be there. Around five o'clock I go to the training sessions of the teams and at eight, half past nine I am home again. This is a very rough daily life – but of course many more things are included. And furthermore, I and my team discuss the philosophy of Hannover 96 here in the NLZ.

How would you summarize it in three sentences?

Because I do not need three sentences, there are three key words: Possession – dominant – offensive,

Could you describe each of these keywords in two or three sentences?

Clear (laughs). I am fully convinced in the youth sector owns football play. This does not only mean that you have to get the ball from A to B, but above all that you recognize where the free man or space is located and that you play there deliberately. dominant For me, to push the opponent in his possession of the ball in his half and be convinced of really wanting to play football yourself – even if you make a mistake. and offensive really speaks for itself: that someone thinks ahead in the game and does not always have in mind what happens when you lose the ball.

Michael Tarnat (l.) Received t-online.de editor Alexander Kohne in his office at the Nachwuchsleistungszentrum of 96. (Source: t-online.de)Michael Tarnat (l.) Received t-online.de editor Alexander Kohne in his office at the Nachwuchsleistungszentrum of 96. (Source: t-online.de)

They worked for six and a half years in the FC Bayern junior football team and led, among other things, the local NLZ. What impact does that have on your work at 96 now?

The time in Bayern has influenced me enormously and I have brought the local philosophy a little bit. At that time we became champion in Bayern with B-Jugend and in the A-Jugend second. In addition, twelve players have signed professional contracts. That is why I am completely convinced of the road and I am not afraid of it. For 96, this means that in the long term all youth teams – the U11 and U23 – should have a recognition value. One should immediately note: a team of 96 plays there.

Much of what you describe is reminiscent of the FC Barcelona or Pep Guardiola. He was the coach of the pros during your time in the Bayern junior team. How has Guardiola affected you?

Of course Pep has influenced me. But not only he, but also Matthias Sammer (then Bayern Sports Board, editor). We had a close exchange and especially with Matthias I talked a lot about the new generation of philosophy.

What influenced you most in this period in Bayern?

You must be absolutely convinced of what you do and may not deviate from his basic path – even if the results are not correct. Of course the "Mia san mia" plays a role, this habit that nothing can shock us, I try to get it here as well and transfer this Bayern self-image to 96. Hannover is a brand in northern Germany. We can not be smaller than we are.

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With Waldemar Anton, Noah Sarenren Bazee or Linton Maina, several junior players have made the leap to the pros in recent years. What is your goal in this respect?

Our chairman, Martin Kind, wants to raise two or three boys a year. This is of course very ambitious. But in the direction that it should go. It is difficult to say that there must be at least one player per year. That's why we say: the goal is to have a base of own players in the team in four years and build on that. Because that is very important for identification with the region.

Michael Tarnat started his professional career at MSV Duisburg. (Source: imago / Ferdi Hartung)Michael Tarnat started his professional career at MSV Duisburg. (Source: Ferdi Hartung / imago)

Today almost all Bundesliga players have gone through an NLZ. How was that with you?

I come from a different time (laughs). Until my twentieth I played with my friends in Hilden, SV Hilden-Nord. At that time we went up in the national competition. Then I happened to see Willibert Kremer and brought me to MSV Duisburg. Only then did I become professional – just as up-to-date as Hendrik Weydandt, who moved from Germania Egestorf / Langreder to our second team and recently received a professional contract.

Weydandt is a real exception. Most young professionals come from the NLZ. Ernik Bicakcic from Hoffenheim recently criticized: "Many youth players are from the factory, I miss the boys." Is he right?

Yes, the types are already missing a bit. And of course we have to ask ourselves in the NLZ and start with that. The boys have to get the space on the square to develop and make mistakes. Because once again one-to-one situations can be searched, without anyone immediately complaining when the ball is lost. There has been a lot of talk about tactics lately, but that is just one aspect of the game. Of course, the performance idea is part of it, but it would be good to re-promote the game's instinct, the natural pleasure of the game and not to narrow everything tactically from the start.

Gladbach manager Max Eberl sees the future of German football critically. He expects: "There will be problems in the coming years when these greedy, young players do not come, but spoiled boys who can no longer criticize when the performance principle is no longer with us, because children with every little resistance against her adviser." Do you agree with him?

Yes, in part, because nowadays the boys are sometimes overpaid. I still know that you are clearing obstacles out of the way. Nowadays, however, the boys are often not confronted with obstacles because the supervisors take care of them. But that can not be the point of the thing. So no personalities can train. It is also about younger and younger players. For example, I do not understand why even a twelve or thirteen-year-old must have a counselor. He has to talk about problems with his parents and trainers.

Again to Bayern. Slightly more than a year ago Munich opened a new youth center, which cost more than 70 million euros. How do you see that the youth is currently working there?

Primary work is excellent and with the new, ultra-modern Bavaria Campus they have been given a new dimension. Bavaria has set standards, not only in Europe, but worldwide.

Michael Tarnat is usually present at the races of the 96 youth teams live. (Source: Hannover 96)Michael Tarnat is usually present at the races of the 96 youth teams live. (Source: Hannover 96)

Where is 96 in comparison?

A big piece behind (laughs). But we are also very well positioned. Only Bayern is of course a different class in every respect. The scouts around the world recently have the 17-year-old Canadian Alphonso Davies committed and paid millions (according to "kicker" ten million euros transfer plus up to nine million euros premiums, pay attention to red.). Of course, these are other dimensions with us. We are scouting in Northern Germany and focus particularly on the Hanover region.

Despite immense investments, Bayern has not put forward a star from their own childhood. When will the new Thomas Müller come?

That is hard to say. In any case Bayern is serious about it. This is reflected in the fact that Hasan Salihamidzic recently delivered professional contracts to many players of the offspring. Maybe they should have more courage to use them more often. The problem is that there are 20 national players in the team and there is always pressure to win titles – preferably the Champions League. That makes it difficult of course. But from my time in Bayern I know that there are some very talented guys, for example Meritan Shabani or Lukas Mai, who both made their debut in the Bundesliga – Lukas, even at the end of last season against 96.

How many players from Bavarian youth will end up in the professional team in the next three years?

Four for five.

You mentioned Hasan Salihamidzic, who in 2001 won the Champions League with you as a player. Can you imagine how Salihamidzic will return to Bavaria?

No, not at all, because I am completely happy with my job at 96.

Michael Tarnat (2nd from left) and current Bayern coach Niko Kovac (left) took the championships in Munich together in 2003 to win the German championship. (Source: image / ExSpo)Michael Tarnat (2nd from left) and current Bayern coach Niko Kovac (left) took the championships in Munich together in 2003 to win the German championship. (Source: ExSpo / image)

Another former player of that time is Niko Kovac. He now trains the club. Would you have believed him at that time?

No, I did not expect Niko to be honest then. That he and Robert (Kovac, brother and assistant coach, editor). The Bayern train now, I am completely happy. We still have good contact, write regularly.

How was the interaction of the Kovacs then?

Niko was more of a strategist from the midfield, while Robert, as a centrumachter, was more responsible for the country. They always stood behind each other and trusted a hundred percent. They still do that – a huge advantage, especially in the coaching world.

Will the Bavaria with the Kovacs master?

Clearly: yes. I still trust them a lot at Bayern.