When he was still active himself, he was distinguished by many things. He was a footballer who had good positional play, who was excellent at anticipating, who acted with a lot of will and great commitment. Matthias Sammer, who ended his career in 1998, embodied the kind of professional soccer player that every coach wants in their ranks: he could be counted on, both on and off the pitch, and Sammer was never afraid to speak up.
Sammer, who won the Champions League with BVB in 1997 and the European Championship title with Germany in 1996, has retained the latter – which is why he is so popular as an expert. The 55-year-old, who has been supporting the club management and sporting management of Borussia Dortmund as a consultant since 2018, is currently involved with Amazon Prime Video. When it came to analyzing RB Leipzig's 7-0 defeat at Manchester City on Tuesday evening, Sammer found clear words. But not only in the direction of RB.
Sammer looked at the big picture. His words made it clear that he was worried about German football. FC Bayern Munich may be a world-class team, but “behind them we were happy that three others who made it through the preliminary round made it through. That was okay. But after that the air got thinner," said Sammer - and added: "You have to focus on that in all objectivity, but also in all clarity."
Before RB, BVB had already failed in the round of 16 of the premier class at Chelsea, this Wednesday evening Eintracht Frankfurt will play at SSC Naples (9 p.m., in the WELT sports ticker). After the 2-0 loss in the first leg, the chances of progress are slim.
Sammer continued after Leipzig's defeat, one must be allowed to talk again about the virtues that have made Germany strong and referred to points such as athleticism, physique or a winning mentality. For a long time it was just said in Germany: “We have to think outside the box. We have to look to America, we have to look there. We have to look everywhere. We didn't even look at what actually made us strong. So I think in order to move forward, we have to take a step back and start working on the basic stuff again.”
Sammer also complained that the endurance issue was now frowned upon. “Please don't lose our basics. This is just a small suggestion. I'm not God, I didn't invent football. But I notice a few things,” said Sammer, who once played for Dynamo Dresden before he went to VfB Stuttgart after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and from there to BVB.
Sammer added in his analysis that even Manchester City, which stands more for quality in the game, was way ahead of Leipzig when it came to physicality. "They are incredibly physically present, also in terms of mobility and speed," Sammer noticed. “Did you see that physique on the pitch today? Did you see that pace? Did you see those duels? It's a difference like day and night.” The physique was once the strength of the German teams, emphasized Sammer, who won two championship titles with BVB and one with VfB. Instead, said Sammer, it is now called in Germany: "We only train with the ball."
In addition to his consulting work for BVB, Sammer is also a member of the task force at the German Football Association (DFB), which was formed after the preliminary round at the World Cup in Qatar. The committee, which also includes Oliver Kahn, recommended Rudi Völler as the new senior national team director to the DFB executive committee.