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|Former soccer player, soccer coach and sports director
Rudi Völler is one of the most famous names in German football. He has had a say in German football for several generations: as a player, as a coach and as sporting director of Bayer 04 Leverkusen. His career had ups and downs. His decisive part in the third world championship title of the German national team in 1990 as well as the runner-up world championship title, which he was surprisingly able to achieve as a coach in 2002, will be remembered in particular.
Rudolf, called »Rudi«, Völler was born on April 13, 1960 in Hanau. Voller came from a working-class family; his father was a skilled lathe operator, his mother a cleaning lady. His father, who later worked as a warehouse manager, was also a youth worker at TSV 1816 Hanau. He himself had also played there. He first took his son to training in 1968 and that’s how his football career began. It quickly became apparent that Völler had a greater talent. His impetuous qualities quickly crystallized and he was discovered by a talent scout at the age of 15. In 1975 he switched to Kickers Offenbach, where he remained in the youth team until 1977, before he made his debut in the first team at the age of 17.
Völler started his professional career in the second division with Kickers Offenbach and stayed there until 1980. In the same year he moved to the first division club TSV 1860 Munich, which, however, was relegated this season. Völler also played in the second division in the second season at 1860, but then switched to Werder Bremen. From 1982 to 1987 he played 137 competitive games for Werder Bremen and scored a remarkable 97 goals. From 1987-1992 he played for AS Roma, then switched to Olympique Marseille and finally spent the rest of his career from 1994 to 1996 at Bayer 04 Leverkusen. Here he ended a professional career of almost 20 years.
He fell in love as sports director at Bayer 04 Leverkusen. Until 2000, a different chapter in his career was opened: as coach of the German national team.
Shortly after the 2000 European Championships, Völler took over as team manager. In 2002, the DFB selection surprisingly reached the final of the World Cup in South Korea. A great success for Völler as a coach. Two years later, at the European Championships, he was not able to continue this success: the team was eliminated in the preliminary round, whereupon Völler announced his retirement. After a brief interlude as a coach at AS Roma, he returned to Bayer 04 Leverkusen as sporting director.
As a player
– Vice World Champion: 1986 (German national team)
– World Champion: 1990 (German national team)
– Vice European Champion: 1992 (German national team)
– Coppa Italia: 1990/91 (AS Roma)
– Champions League winners: 1992/93 (Olympique Marseille)
As a coach
– Vice World Champion: 2002 (German national team)
– »We are 50 percent in the quarter-finals, but it is far from half the battle.«
– »Bayern is an excellently run club with an excellent team. It really is a world club. But why should I go to Bayern Munich? It’s difficult to come into a team that has been successful for years. What new things can you achieve with Bayern Munich? At most become a European Cup winner. I wanted a completely new challenge.«
– »Here in Leverkusen, everyone who brings a vuvuzela into the stadium is locked up.«
– »Except for Franz Beckenbauer, everyone had to experience that popularity ends after the end of their career. Hardly anyone talks about Karl-Heinz Rummenigge anymore, even though he made football history with and in Germany. Or Toni Schumacher, who was considered the world’s best goalkeeper for a few years. When he was kicked out of Cologne because of his book, the newspapers were full every day for a week. Nevertheless, he realized how difficult it is to suddenly find a new club. Once you’re out of business, you’re quickly forgotten.«
– »Anyone who does something like that has never loved football.«
Völler’s criticism of Jansen’s decision to end his career too early – from Völler’s point of view.
– »The transition from the dream world to real life is not that easy for many players.«
– “Franz Beckenbauer? A guru who used to play soccer.«
– Günther Netzer was Völler’s great idol.
– No Bundesliga player has ever scored more goals in their first 100 games for a club; there were 73 in the first 100 games for Werder Bremen.
– Rudi Völler was one of the last two players in the German national team who still wore a mustache. The other was Jürgen Kohler.
– Due to his curly hair, Völler received the nickname ‘Tante Käthe’ even as a player.