Peter Niemeyer, SC Preußen Münster sporting director since summer 2020, played 132 times for Hertha BSC (Bundesliga, 2. Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal). Their former midfielder will now face them in the Pokal with his new club on Tuesday, 26th October (18:30 CEST). The 37-year-old spoke to DFB.de about the second-round clash.
DFB.de: Were Hertha BSC your dream draw for the second round of the DFB-Pokal, Mr. Niemeyer?
Peter Niemeyer: I’m torn. On the one hand, it’s personally my dream draw. However, as sporting director and from our club’s perspective, we would have preferred to play a second-division team. Nonetheless, we knew we’d only get a tough draw anyway being a fourth-tier side.
DFB.de: What memories from your time in Berlin particularly spring to mind?
Niemeyer: Both promotions to the Bundesliga as captain when we won the second division. The derbies against 1. FC Union Berlin were also a highlight; I managed to score in our first meeting. We also had some low points, such as getting relegated. The pitch invasion during the relegation play-off at Fortuna Düsseldorf and the subsequent court case was probably the most difficult moment of my career. Overall though, the good memories outweigh the bad ones. The home games at the Olympiastadion were always a highlight too.
DFB.de: You ended your playing career after three years at SV Darmstadt 98. Was a return to Berlin on the cards?
Niemeyer: We went our separate ways on the pitch, but our connection remained strong. Despite deciding to continue my career, I had a contract with Hertha BSC for after my playing career and I’m proud I got that. However, after speaking to the club, I made the decision to go my own way. I made the choice to go to Twente in the Netherlands, the club where I began my professional career at. As ‘Head of Development’, I was in charge of the academy and assistant coach for the first team. I’ve always maintained a good relationship with all of my former clubs. I always joined and left clubs on good terms, which I’m happy about.
DFB.de: SC Preußen Münster reached the second round despite losing 3-1 (a.e.t.) to VfL Wolfsburg. That was down to the fact that the Wolves made too many substitutions on the day. Is that game still in your heads?
Niemeyer: Firstly, I’d like to say that too many substitutions being made is not just a mistake made by one person, there are several factors that come into play there. We didn’t really feel like winners after the hearing. Due to the fact that we were really close to causing an upset on the pitch, it was the right decision to file an appeal to the DFB because of the sixth substitution. I can sense everyone’s motivation to reach the next round now.
DFB.de: Will you take inspiration from Rot-Weiß Essen, a team you’re competing with for the title this season, after they beat several teams from higher divisions on their way to the quarterfinals last season?
Niemeyer: Each individual game is different, so you can’t compare most situations in football. One thing is for sure though: we want to go as far possible in the DFB-Pokal. For that to happen, we know lots of things need to come together.
DFB.de: What does the progression of teams from the Regionalliga West say about the quality of the league?
Niemeyer: We saw the quality of the Regionalliga West very clearly once again during the pandemic. We were one of the first divisions back in action and we were recognised by both the authorities and the public as part of professional football. The fact that Borussia Dortmund’s U23s and SC Verl – the last two league winners – are now competing in the 3. Liga also speaks volumes for the quality of the league.
DFB.de: Competing in the second round also means more income for the club. What will the money go towards?
Niemeyer: We’re experiencing a lot of bad luck at the moment with injuries. In Dennis Daube, one of our leading players will be out for a long time with an ACL tear. We will use certainly be using the income selectively to improve our depth. We are convinced that our structure gives us the basis for long-term success on the pitch. The unexpected money also comes at a good time in terms of the pandemic.
DFB.de: The DFB-Pokal final has been played in Berlin since 1985. Since then, Hertha BSC have had the desire to play a final at their home ground. Only the second team was able to achieve this so far, in 1993. How would it feel to spoil the party this time?
Niemeyer: The DFB-Pokal final was always a hot topic back when I played for Hertha, and reaching the final was always a season objective. I wish the club all the best and hope they one day make this dream come true. In my role as Preußen Münster sporting director, however, I’m looking at this differently. Hertha BSC will hopefully have to wait at least one more year.
DFB.de: Personally, you know how it feels to be in the final, however. In 2009 you won the competition with Werder Bremen. How did that feel?
Niemeyer: It was indescribable. There weren’t many opportunities to win titles in my playing career, so it was definitely a highlight for me. Werder Bremen had a miniature version of the trophy made for every player. Mine is in my living room, so I will always be reminded of it.
DFB.de: How will Preußen beat Hertha BSC?
Niemeyer: Virtues like passion are absolutely essential for every lower-league team in the DFB-Pokal. Our structure is one of our strengths in the Regionalliga. We want to show this against Hertha BSC as well. Our fans will ensure a special atmosphere. We can all make sure it’s an unforgettable night and maybe achieve the kind of miracle we only see every other year or so. We will do everything to try and make that happen.