December 11, 2017

Interview: Dieter Hoeness

Dieter Hoeness has spent most of his time of late in the shadow of his older brother Uli. The public hasn’t seen or heard much from the former Wolfsburg, Hertha and Stuttgart manager after Felix Magath wanted to create his new, improved and successful version of VfL Wolfsburg without Hoeness. 

Bild interviewed the former Bundesliga manager, here is our translation of Germany’s biggest tabloid’s interview with Dieter Hoeness.

Bild: Mr. Hoeness, how does it feel to be almost amongst the 60’ers (editors note: the reporter refers to Bayern’s arch rival TSV 1860 München and Hoeness’s age) as a red?

Dieter Hoeness: I’ll never be amongst them (laughs)! On a more serious note, I sometimes do have the odd niggle, But, I feel a lot younger than my actual age. Not like a 30-year-old, but also not like a 60-year-old…

Bild: Do you have trouble accepting that you are getting older?

D. Hoeness: No, not at all. I’m a positive person, I enjoy life every day as long as I’m fit and healthy. However, I’m also aware of that fact that I have left more years behind me than the amount of years I have ahead of myself.

Bild: What are your plans for the future?

D. Hoeness: I have founded a small company, and I might leave that in the hands of one of my sons one day. We are advising clubs, sponsors and investors. We are even helping matters along on transfers. We do provide a wide range of services.

Bild: You are not yearning to get back into the Bundesliga?

D. Hoeness: To be honest, no. I’m fortunate enough to be in a position that allows me to choose to do what I really enjoy, instead of having to do it all.

Bild: The manager Dieter Hoeness is a person of the past then? You won’t return?

D. Hoeness: The state of things today would suggest that. Maybe I’ll return to a club filling a position on the board or on the executive board. I wouldn’t shut the door on that. I act out of conviction, and I have to be fully invested in a mission.

Bild: Was that also the case at Wolfsburg?

D. Hoeness: Absolutely. I was excited about the chance to work under other economic parameters than in Berlin.

Bild: How would you assess today’s situation at the club?

D. Hoeness: Shortly before I was let go I said that I do think that it’d be a mistake to get Magath back to the club. Wolfsburg would have managed to stay in the league without him as well. The day and age of the one-man show is over! Every club needs a regulating figure, to be more presice, a manager. The model Magath wanted doesn’t work anymore. VfL has corrected that mistake, and brought in Klaus Allofs and Dieter Hecking, both of whom were good choices. I think that the two of them are a good fit. They’ll be able to be successful at the club.

Bild: Why weren’t you able to be successful?

D. Hoeness: I’m fully convinced that I brought a number of excellent players like Mandzukic, Helmes or Diego to the club. I wasn’t as fortunate when it came to choosing a coach. I have to be very clear on this: Steve McClaren is a good coach, but he wasn’t a good fit Wolfsburg. His style of leadership didn’t suit the team.

Bild: You can proudly look back on a great career as a player and a manager – is there any achievment in particular which fills you with a lot of pride?

D. Hoeness: I surely wasn’t right about everything, but I always stayed true to myself and I have left a few marks along the way. I’m very proud about the 8 titles I won with Bayern as a player, and the championship we won with Stuttgart and being able to establish Hertha as a brand as a manager.

Bild: You managed to lead Hertha from the 2. Bundesliga and almost reached a Champions League finish at the end of your stint at the club in 2009 – how do you look back on that now?

D. Hoeness: Leading Hertha back into the Bundesliga and establishing the team in the upper third of the table after a number of years of the club being insignificant was my biggest challenge. We managed to do it.

Bild: Your biggest transfer?

D. Hoeness: Marcelinho, Deisler, Beinlich, Bastürk – there a few delicacies amongst my transfers. If I have to highlight just one player, it has to be Marcelinho. He was the most complete player who has ever played for Hertha.

Bild: Which decision do you regret?

D. Hoeness: I wasn’t right about all the players. Someone who has to make decision is always going to make mistakes.

Bild: Are Hertha going back into the Bundesliga this season?

D. Hoeness: I follow the club and what is going there with great interest. Right now I’m covinced that Hertha are going back into the Bundesliga.

Bild: What is your take on the ongoing trend of coaches and managers changing clubs in the middle of a season?

D. Hoeness: It’s critical! I do understand the attraction an offer from the VfL has. The call of Wolfsburg is tempting, but it can also be problematic down the road. If a sought after player approaches you and wants to leave the club you’ll have a hard time selling him on the idea that he still has a valid contract at the club.

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Niklas Wildhagen

Niklas is a 30-year-old football writer and podcaster who has been following the Bundesliga and German football since the early 90s. You can follow him on Twitter, @normusings, and listen to his opinions on @TalkingFussball and on the @AufstiegPod.

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