When will he finally arrive, the numerous children asked themselves, just like the many spectators who attended the soccer training of the FC herzogenaurach E-youth team?. Lothar matthaus had signed up to visit his hometown club and drove up at 5 p.M. On the dot. After slipping into his training outfit, he answered the first questions from the waiting journalists. Rather reluctantly, because he actually wanted to take the young soccer players out onto the artificial pitch before talking to the press. Matthaus made it clear right away: "I’m happy to help out in the youth area here. This is my hometown club."
In the past few years, it was difficult to put this affair of the heart into practice, as the 1990 world champion had too many other appointments and tasks on his plate. Currently, however, matthaus has more free time and is taking it. "I’m in herzogenaurach every six to eight weeks anyway and visit my parents. That’s why I like to come to the FCH, because that’s the place where I scored my first goals. Back there is my old school", says the 56-year-old, who lived in his hometown until he was a senior: he started playing soccer for the pumas when he was nine and came out at 18, when he was signed by borussia monchengladbach.
Old departures as fence toasts
He wanted to pass on a bit of what helped him to his world career to the up-and-coming kickers during training. "I want to give the kids motivation, because without motivation you can’t do it", said matthaus, who also discovered old departures on the sidelines such as manfred bierlein ("you’re still around, too"), with whom he once played together in the bavarian league for FC herzogenaurach.
After the obligatory team photo and the speech of the guest coach, the ball was rolling. Everyone could get an idea of what kind of bite the ex-world champion must have had in the past. That lothar matthaus lives fubball became clear in every sentence. "If you’re just going for a walk here, then you’ve got to stay home", the trained interior decorator admonished one of the young players and gave him an encouraging pat on the back before turning to the goalkeeper: "we’re going to do the drill just like i said we would."
Training has priority
Those who expected a show event were in for a surprise. Matthaus took more than two hours to train with the children, and then spent another half hour signing autographs with them. Much to the chagrin of some press representatives who wanted to interview the 56-year-old in between, but were told off: "that’s not possible now because we have training. If you ask mr. Heynckes during training, he’ll send you away, too", said matthaus dryly and immediately corrected his passes again.
Even with an "eckla herzogenaurach’s famous son kicked along and repeatedly demanded completions from his proteges. "Don’t switch off. When you have the follow-up shot, you put it in", said the german national team record player, who encouraged the talents in his closing speech to keep at it and wished them good luck for the future of soccer. "Every training session helps. If you take ten small steps, it’s a rough one."
The young spumas took away a lot from their training with the 1990 world champion and are already looking forward to their next appearance: lothar matthaus, who visibly enjoyed the training, announced it as a precaution – only the date has not yet been set.