DFB.de: What is your itinerary for the Austria game, Mr Hrubesch?
Horst Hrubesch: We met up with our coaching team on Monday in order to discuss the games in November as well. By the end of the year, the new head coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg should have fully taken over from me.
DFB.de: How do you think your time with the national side has turned out, with the best moment this year qualifying for the World Cup in France next year?
Hrubesch: We are progressing well and I hope that the side continues to improve like they have already. At the moment, we have basically only played competitive games, with the game against Canada being the only exception. We had to win all of these games, so we had no chance to try new things, as losing was not an option. The squad managed to win these games though and they did fantastically. It was clear that they were enjoying playing their football again.
DFB.de: Are there any negatives though?
Hrubesch: So far so good, although there are a still few things missing, which we will try to address in the game against Austria. One thing is for sure though; these games are not to be treated lightly just because they are only friendlies. The players are playing for a place in the World Cup squad next year in France. We have a fair amount of time ahead of us to try new things out and also for players to show why they should be in the squad.
DFB.de: Do you think the Germany squad will have a good chance?
Hrubesch: We have a lot of quality, but we can still improve by 15% to 20%.
DFB.de: What needs to be worked on?
Hrubesch: A lot of simple, boring things. We need to start scoring from set-pieces, be a bit quicker in with our build-up play and play more direct on occasion too. We need to try and play our first pass forwards so that we don’t lose the pace in our attacks. One thing that has pleased me, however, is that we have turned up in every game from the first to the last minute.
DFB.de: You were recently at an U18s tournament to see the future of women’s football in Germany. How useful are such tournaments?
Hrubesch: I’m a massive advocate of these tournaments. It makes a lot of sense to have such games where players can test themselves against players from all of the other regions in the country. Every player can they see what they do well, what they perhaps do badly and maybe need to improve on. Some can even tell if they already belong to the elite players at their age group. It’s good to get an indication of the current situation.
DFB.de: And how would you describe that current situation?
Hrubesch: When you consider how much the DFB offers (youth development programmes, performance centres etc.), it is good; a lot of other countries don’t have this much in place. It is also important to think outside the box and see what other countries are doing as well though. We have a number of real talents in our youth teams, which we have to follow closely and support their development. The national coach cannot do that on their own, all the teams and other coaches must help out with this too. Recently we met with all of the head coaches of the Women’s Bundesliga. In Duisburg we discussed what we can improve and how we will do it. Obviously when Martina Voss-Tecklenburg takes over my job there will be some changes, it’s only natural that she will want to put her own stamp on things. Britta Carlsson and Thomas Nörenberg (the assistant managers) will stay in their roles, so that we will carry on communicating well with the clubs and respective associations.
DFB.de: What does the future hold for you?
Hrubesch: After the 31st of December I will be going back home. Then between February 2nd and April 12th I will be on holiday in New Zealand. We will just have to see what happens after that.
DFB.de: Will you be contracted by the DFB afterwards?
Hrubesch: No, my contract runs out on December 31st and I will be a pensioner after that. I don’t have any commitments after then. The time has come for younger people to do the jobs I’ve been doing.
DFB.de: Will you stay involved with the DFB at all?
Hrubesch: Everything that I do from then on will be voluntary. Of course it’s not easy to soon be separating from the DFB, especially as I have worked with them for such a long time. On the one hand, it has been a joy to work for them, whilst there have also been some disappointing moments which are part and parcel of working in football. I would say one thing though; the DFB are a fantastic organisation, even if some people complain about them. There have been so many great moments in the last twenty years, such as the youth development programme, winning the World Cup in 2014 and hosting it in 2006. Germany has established itself once again in the world of football.
DFB.de: There was another highlight for you in your DFB career recently, as you were a part of the DFB delegation that travelled to Nyon, where Germany’s application to host EURO 2024 was accepted.
Hrubesch: With such an important project, there were people that were more in the spotlight than I was of course. But even those who worked behind the scenes put in a massive effort. Such a large-scale project requires multiple people – one person can’t do it all on their own. You can’t just give up on something that you’ve nearly accomplished – that doesn’t make sense. As I’ve always said, we’re good but we can still do even better!