What's your favorite memory against Liverpool
Interview with Heiko Vogel: "Salah trained underground on the first day"
in the first part of the interview with SPOX and goalHeiko Vogel spoke about his entry into the coaching business, his internship at Real Madrid, the obsession conveyed by Pep Guardiola and Hermann Gerland's special dealings with "Filou" Bastian Schweinsteiger and Philipp Lahm.
In the second part, the 43-year-old remembers his time at FC Basel. Vogel reports on the "incredibly emotional" game against Manchester United, the "Natural Born Leader" Granit Xhaka and his first encounter as well as the commitment of today's Liverpool star Mohamed Salah.
A conversation about the danger of misunderstanding talent, Vogel's stressful double job at FC Bayern and working with a controversial investor at KFC Uerdingen.
Mr. Vogel, from January to December 2007 you worked under Thorsten Fink as an assistant coach at FC Ingolstadt. How did that happen?
Bird: Finki and I spent six months together as a football teacher and got to know and appreciate each other. He then switched to Ingolstadt and asked me if I would like to come with him. It was interesting for me in terms of sport because it was my first job in the senior sector. We then moved up from what was then the Regionalliga Süd to the 2nd Bundesliga. That was Ingolstadt's first taster course in the top two leagues.
In 2009 they moved to FC Basel together. Fink was finally poached by HSV in October 2011 - and you took over first as interim and then as head coach. What is your favorite memory of the time?
Bird: There is only one thing.
The 2: 1 against Manchester United.
Bird: Clear. When Alex Frei made it 2-0, I knew that United wouldn't make it today. That was incredibly emotional. After the game I went to the VIP room at some point, then the President Bernhard Heusler said: 'You, we have to go to Barfiplatz (Barfüsserplatz, editor's note)' It was December 7th, shortly before midnight. At first I didn't understand what we should do now. 'There are 6,000 fans who want to see the team and you,' he said. I couldn't believe it at first. Then we arrived and celebrated with the fans. That was a sensational moment. The cup win in Klagenfurt with Sturm Graz against the overwhelming power from Salzburg was similar. When you achieve something extraordinary, you give it a personal meaning. So I think that emotionally it doesn't make that much difference whether you win the Champions League or move up to the district league.
Yann Sommer, Xherdan Shaqiri, Granit Xhaka, Mohamed Salah: You trained many talented players in Basel. Who impressed you the most?
Bird: Granite Xhaka. To do this you have to know the context. Xherdan Shaqiri came with an incredible number of advance praise, was integrated immediately and did an outstanding job. It was incredibly tight in the first year of the championship. On the last day of the match we had an away game with Young Boys Bern, which was punctual. Shaqiri has played as a left-back against Seydou Doumbia, who has made over 30 cottages this season. Shaq signed him off completely and made a phenomenal game. Accordingly, he was already mega-impressive, also in the Manchester game. What kind of self-image he was playing with: unbelievable. Experienced players like Evra ricocheted off him. He prepared both goals against United.
Heiko Vogel: "You're talking about Shaqiri? Xhaka is better"
Let's come to Xhaka.
Bird: That was the time when Granit became U17 world champion. It was an international break and we had a bar of friendly matches with Basel. Granite came in in the 70th minute. In the 75th he gets the ball, makes a few meters and welds the thing from 25 meters into the Kreuzeck. I still remember how I sat on the bus and thought: You're talking about Shaqiri? Xhaka is better. For me that was the beginning of my personal love for him. Even at the age of 18, Granit was incredibly clear in his actions and his views. He was a natural born leader. Momo was impressive too - in a different way.
In what way?
Bird: I saw him for the first time on videos at Gegge (sports director Georg Heitz, editor's note) in the office. So I said to Gegge: 'Have a look at that, that's unbelievable, they manipulated the videos.' The guy was so amazingly quick, that was crazy. You have to say that Momo was already a star in Egypt at the age of 20 and was on the way to the senior national team. It was clear that he was not going to the two big Egyptian clubs. Momo either wanted to stay with his small hometown club or move to Europe.
Salah certainly had other teams on the list.
Bird: It was weird. After we watched the videos, Gegge said to me, 'Do you know what's the best? He comes to the trial training. ' I asked: 'I beg your pardon? What does he do?' We found that incredibly impressive. With his talent, of course, we also thought that there were umpteen other clubs in his team.
How did it go then?
Bird: He came to Basel, we picked him up from the airport and brought him to the hotel. It was a very pleasant evening. This openness, this curiosity and this humility that Momo exuded.
Heiko Vogel: Salah dismantled everything on day three
Did he speak english?
Bird: No not at all. He wanted to learn German. So I said to him: 'Take it easy, master. German is extremely difficult. Learn English, that's enough. ' Momo had a really great advisor with her, Yaya. He was fluent in English. That's how we understood each other.
And then came the first training session.
Bird: Gegge and I said to him: 'Watch out, you can actually train however you want. We have already made our decision anyway. ' Then he trained underground on the first day. Everyone watched. We wondered if he might have a twin brother. On the second day it was a little better, but not good either. Gegge and I advertised him even at the smallest of actions. According to the motto: Did you see the pass? And then came the third day.
How did it go?
Bird: He dismantled everything there, it really couldn't be stopped. I've rarely seen such a dominant two-on-five performance. That was absolutely extraordinary. It was so agile, so explosive - impossible to grasp. If he had that thing on his left foot, the ball was in anyway. But Momo always had an eye for the teammate. After the performance it was clear to everyone why we wanted to get him.
How do you explain his appearances on the first two days?
Bird: Not with nervousness, Momo was confident, but is immersed in a new world. Then he had to acclimate himself in the truest sense of the word. He came to us from hot North Africa. It's always difficult when you get into an environment where you don't really understand the language.
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