Bernd stange enjoys cult status in jena and many parts of east germany. The 69-year-old went down in fubball history as the last national coach of the gdr. Now he was a guest at the invitation of the society for soccer coaches (gft) of upper franconia at the sports home of the sc weismain. He told of his varied career and made the audience think and laugh with a few anecdotes.
"The biggest mistakes you make in success", stange, who was born in gnaschwitz, saxony, cautions. He remembers the chapter of hertha bsc berlin, where he signed on after a successful time at fc carl zeis jena in 1991. "Instead of 2500 marks, i was suddenly earning 20000 and still had an escape clause in my contract."
yet today he says: "the biggest mistake of my life was to switch." hertha had to sell players, hoped for former gdr stars in stange’s tow. But almost all of them were already on the books of other clubs.
and so stange got his own "coffin nail" on board: mario basler. "That is life-threatening. I stumbled across him", stange judges and laughs. In the meantime, he has come to terms with basler.
And yet an escapade by basler cost stange his job. Hertha’s vice president came to the coach the day before a game. Declared him to be pushing for his dismissal. "He only told me that basler fell off his chair drunk in a whorehouse dressed in a bathrobe", says stange and smiles. The vice president had been sitting in the chair next to him. The rest of the story is well known: basler matured into a national player, stange was fired in berlin.
"once you’re out of the bundesliga, you hardly have a chance to get back in as an ossi." exceptions, such as that of his old head coach hans mayer ("slow and difficult as a soccer player, but a great buddy"), confirm the rule. "But he had to go on a tour abroad before monchengladbach got him by chance."
foreign countries were always attractive for stange as well. He trained teams in russia, cyprus, ukraine, oman, australia, iraq and singapore. Got to know the peculiarities of the lander and the stars there. As a weibrussian national coach he coached aleksandar hleb ("he was a rat"). The former stuttgart player moved from arsenal london to fc barcelona for financial reasons. Stange tried to dissuade him from changing — in vain. "He gave away his career."
he also criticized the skepticism shown towards the east fubball. "Fubball was sixth in this region for a long time", he reminds us of the gdr sports requirement. The government’s goal was to be as high as possible in the medal table at the olympics as a nation. Despite some respectable successes — he recalls magdeburg and jena in international competitions — soccer has played only a subordinate role. "Maradona did not exist with us", says stange. "He became a wrestler in the gdr."
stange is particularly fond of german soccer: "our reputation in the world is sensational." at the same time, he criticizes the current situation of german soccer in europe, the increasing boredom in the bundesliga and, above all, the many different transfer and start times. He also dislikes the video evidence: "i am categorically against the theater."
then the 69-year-old gave the coaches present tips on the way: "the higher you train, the harder you have to be. You must define a style of play." and comes into the black, if he thereby at paris st. German thinks: "like four, five greyhounds running for the meat."
At the end of the gft meeting, at which heinz eger was confirmed as gft chairman, stange made a promise: "i’ll be back next time." whether as a talk guest or perhaps once again as a trainer, he likes to keep an open mind. "Never say never." because he was fit.