|German Football Coach|
|Club as Coach||Fortuna Dusseldorf|
|Club as Player||xxxx|
2013 05 24 Retrieve
[q: Mr. Pfannenstiel, you are known as a world traveler. Where did you find to be the most beautiful?] That’s a difficult question. Brazil was culturally and football wise a great place. For me as a footballer, it was a great honour to play in Brazil. There are few Europeans who have had the good fortune to be a professional there. Life in general in Brazil is just great. Then Vancouver was another great place in terms of lifestyle. Emotionally it is England, Norway and New Zealand. Brazil could be however mentioned as number one
[q: What was so special because of football in Brazil?] The stadiums were at that time old, and you could not see modern arenas. But the atmosphere in the stadium and the whole experience is like a religion, football means to the people even more than for example in Germany. Football is the love of their life for the Brazilians. It was emotionally a great experience to be able to absorb that. A highlight was without a doubt one of my first games in the legendary Maracana
[q: How much are you looking forward to the World Cup next year in Brazil?] The World Cup is of course something special for me, because I was the only German so far, who was active as a professional there. I will again make lot of television appearances and will also report from the Fifa Confederations Cup. Until next year, Brazil will be one of my main residences. Also, because there is much for me to scout for my current job. [Pfannenstiel works as a scout for 1899 Hoffenheim].
[q: Do you already have a player in mind for Hoffenheim?] If I told you that now, then I’d have to kill you - it’s so top secret. But seriously, there are of course many interesting players from many countries and within Germany
[q: Do you want to continue working as a scout next year, or can you see yourself as a coach or a goalkeeping coach again?] Yes, I can see that. I was first assistant coach, then coach and goalkeeping coach in Namibia before Hoffenheim came along. It was an enjoyable experience. I think you should never shut the door on anything. Let’s see what the future brings
[q: Would England be a dream destination?] I was in England for so long, I still have good relations and family there. This is a matter of the heart. But after all the long journeys through the world, I have become accustomed to Germany again and working at Hoffenheim is great fun because you can continue to build something great. I do not stress myself on these things and just wait to see what comes next. Now I just want to fulfil my role with Hoffenheim
[q: Would you advise players and coaches to gain experience abroad?] For a player, it’s certainly not bad to gain experience abroad. This is the best school of life. I think this is a great life experience, which further develops the personality.
[q: All of Germany has been for weeks only speaking about the Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. What is your take on it?] I am very fortunate to be able to comment on the game for BBC. I see this from a neutral perspective. But of course it is a wonderful story that two German teams are in the finals. Last year I was commentating for the BBC and in the end the Germans lost against Chelsea and I was unfairly ridiculed. This time there is at least one German winner. Who will win then, I have to honestly say I do not care. The better team will win.
However, Bayern have had a great season and are currently probably the best Bayern team of all time. That says a lot about Bayern. But the young players and the refreshing football that Dortmund play - to the great motivator that is Jürgen Klopp - I think that Dortmund have a great chance to spoil the season for Bayern. They are aware of this danger, which is why they are under great pressure. Dortmund have less to lose
2017 02 18 Retrieve
[Lutz Pfannenstiel tells about being phoned by the police for stealing a penguin] The police phoned me about a stolen penguin. They had received an anonymous tip-off that I might be involved. But it wasn’t me. I urge the thief to return the penguin, as this is no joke. I know it well from the sins of my youth. In 2003, I took a penguin home from its colony and put it in my bathtub. But I returned it inside two days after my club chairman explained penguins were a protected species. Besides, my housemates were not delighted, as it stank like a fish factory. I did not steal it – I just borrowed it
2019 08 24 Retrieve
[Lutz Pfannenstiel says Promising talent Dheeraj Singh needs to play in Europe] I know Gurpreet (Singh), I think he is a decent goalkeeper and I think he can play for a smaller European club. Subrata Paul was a top-level player for many years, someone who carried himself well. Nawaz (Mohammad) and Dheeraj (Singh), for a U-17 team, were very good goalkeepers. There wasn’t much difference between the German and European goalkeepers (at the U-17 level). I enjoyed working with them, they are exceptionally talented
I always give the example of Ochoa, he was a big TV star. He decided that he doesn’t care about money, he wanted to play in Europe and develop his talents. He refused the money and played the Euro League. He went back to Mexico now for 4 million a year. He had a very good character
Nawaz is very athletic but a bit short, Dheeraj has the height and can play in Europe but he needs to be stubborn. If he stays in the Indian league for a few more years, he won’t come out (to Europe) any more, that is a fact. At 19-20 years of age, you need to go out
I played against Bhutia when he played for Bury, he scored a penalty against me. He was the first Indian football ambassador. He struggled but when he came back home, he was the star. Dheeraj and at least two more guys - One of them is Boris Singh - has the quality to play in Europe. The European teams saw him (Boris) and were like, ‘Oh he’s really good!’. The easier way is to play for a big team and earn money and stay at home
I was surprised when the German coach Nicolai left on short notice. I saw the way team was going by then, they really improved step by step. They played against our U-17 in Hoffenheim, they did a good job at the World Cup but I thought they could have done better. I saw the way things were going so I was surprised
We had a big project planned with Hoffenheim in India, based in Mumbai but the problem was that things were not done the way we thought it will be done. We were going into all the rural areas and try to bring in the top 30 players to Germany for a year. In the end, the project died due to various reasons. The kids we scouted were very good. It was just unlucky, it would have been a good project. India is not considered a typical football country, don’t get me wrong. But if it comes to the numbers’ game, if you’re having a large number of kids playing football, the team should be able to qualify for the World Cup. But the problem is to filter and find talents because the country is so big. Not easy to get the best XI on the field, it is a structural problem.
German youth education is very good, our academies are very good. The academies in Spain and France are very good. But if we take that setup to India it won’t work because it’s like a continent, you need lots of people and is difficult. I hope India qualifiers for the World Cup one day because it will produce a tremendous reaction. Because you find a lot of good Indian (-origin) footballers, in New Zealand, Australia etc ( such as Sarpreet Singh). If you pick out exceptional talents who are in other countries because they have Indian parents and let them play for India, I think you will make the next but obviously, that is difficult. India is like a sleeping giant
2019 11 30 Retrieve
[Fortuna Dusseldorf chief Pfannenstiel keeping faith in struggling Ampomah] He [Ampomah] has to change and increase his defensive work. He is not alone. [Former Dusseldorf attacker] Benito Raman had to learn that too and it came late. This is often forgotten today. He [Ampomah] lacks a goal, and he has had to be properly fit after his injuries. He will surely be as confident as he was at the beginning of the year again
2020 02 13 Retrieve
[Roberto Firmino may not get the goals of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane at Liverpool but he is the “perfect fit” for Jurgen Klopp and the real MVP at Anfield] He was recommended to us by the agency ROGON. ROGON has one of the best networks in Brazil. With Carlos Eduardo and Luiz Gustavo, they had already brought two top players to Hoffenheim. I had seen Firmino play before, but I didn’t know his name.
Roberto played in Santa Catarina, just like me [as an active player]. I saw him there as a teenager. The youth games were mostly one day before ours. He stood out in the Campeonato Catarinense [State Championship of Santa Catarina]. But at the time, I wasn’t a scout. I was a goalkeeper.
As a youth Roberto did not play for any national team. He was a blank slate because he played in Brazil with the second division team Figueirense. After the scouting analysis, it was clear that he was special. It was an important step for the club.
Roberto is originally from north eastern Brazil. Maceio is a tough city, a social hotspot. He was lucky to come to Santa Catarina. Everything there is very European, very Italian and German. That’s why Figueirense was the perfect intermediate step for him.
Nevertheless, he had the normal start-up difficulties that most South Americans have. He came to Hoffenheim at the age of 19 as a slim boy, could not speak German. But during this time, his special character came to light. He worked a lot more than most, always doing extra shifts on the pitch or in the weights room and developing physically very quickly. He had the unconditional will.
He combined the best of both football philosophies [Brazil and German]: a lot of work without the ball, discipline and Brazilian enthusiasm. He got better and better.
It was completely understandable that the move to a top club would follow at some point. That it then became Liverpool and that he later got a coach like Jurgen Klopp who had a clear plan with him is like winning the lottery.
Everyone always talks about the goals of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, but for me Firmino is the MVP of the team. How he finds gaps and works backwards - that’s the perfect fit
2020 02 13b Retrieve
[Ofori was monitored by Real Madrid & Man Utd before taking on Fortuna Dusseldorf challenge] A transfer is always about teamwork, with different departments such as sports management, analysis and scouting all flowing into one another. One of the highlights was here at Fortuna Dusseldorf. Namely Kelvin Ofori. He came to us at the beginning of the season at the age of 17, completely unknown by most people and without boots. He was like a bag of tricks. Ofori was trained in the Right to Dream Academy in Ghana. This is a private football academy with great influence from Manchester City.
I knew Ofori from my time in Africa, even then he was considered an exceptional talent. It was clear to me early on that he had the potential to play at some point in Europe and possibly at City. Because his father refused to sign a new contract, other players were promoted and Ofori remained largely unknown to many.
It’s true [Real Madrid and Manchester United were interested in him]. After a few conversations, we decided to invite him over as a guest player. A few weeks later he came to us in the training camp, behind him a 16-hour flight over north Africa and England. He was totally tired and didn’t even have soccer boots with him. Still, he really wanted to get involved right away. So he trained with boots that were one size too big for him and still made a great impression. Now he has a three-year contract