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Germany-France: Völler and Deschamps, reunion in an explosive context

Special correspondent in Dortmund.

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Germany-France: Völler and Deschamps, reunion in an explosive context

Special correspondent in Dortmund

The handshake looks frank. And despite the tension around the German selection, chambering will be required. Even a short moment, before giving way to serious things. Rudi Völler, appointed interim coach since the dismissal of Hansi Flick on Sunday and who gives the impression of having been sent to the fire without wanting to, will meet Didier Deschamps on Tuesday evening (9 p.m.) at Signal Iduna Park. The two men like each other, even if they see each other little, since their joint victory in the Champions League on May 26, 1993, engraved in the memory of all French football.

“I have a perfect relationship with Didier,” says Völler, “in his black Mannschaft outfit. The 1993 victory is a wonderful memory in my career, I was one of the oldest in the squad at the time (33 years old) and I can tell you that at the time, we had already noticed that Didier could become a coach. He was already thinking like a technician. And I knew that he would make a very good coach or selector in the future, I was not too wrong. Naturally quiet, like Didier Deschamps, the former “Renard des surfaces”, who stayed two years on the Canebière to leave magnificent memories there, did not reveal this part of his personality on Monday evening, in front of the audience. of media who came in large numbers to face the catastrophic situation of the selection. Faced with the emergency situation and the crisis in Germany, it is difficult for Völler to appear light and detached. “We will try to disrupt the French team, but we will have to be 100%,” he admits without really believing it. In any case, I can’t wait to see Didier on Tuesday before the match.”

Asked about the reunion a few minutes earlier in the ultra-modern press room of the former Westfalenstadion, the boss of the vice-world champions made the same speech. “It's my youth (he was 24 in 1993), he smiles, much lighter and relaxed in the face of the media than his counterpart. Rudi had this cheerful temperament and it's a great pleasure to meet him, since I haven't seen him in thirty years. Before the accolades, Deschamps opens the memory box: "He was a huge scorer, a fighter and he had this joie de vivre all the time. He landed from AS Roma at the time and he had brought the atmosphere of the south to Marseille, he is a lodger. We enjoyed having him in the locker room every day.

After OM's legal setbacks and the descent into hell, the two men left Marseille in 1994 to pursue their careers elsewhere. Deschamps at Juventus Turin, Völler at Bayer Leverkusen. Before the latter, older, hangs up his crampons in 1996 to embark on a coaching career. In clubs (Bayer Leverkusen twice, AS Rome) and for four years at the head of the selection between 2000 and 2004.

Aware of the pressure around the post of coach, the sports director of the German federation, forced to play the firefighter on duty for the duration of a meeting, takes a tip of the hat to Deschamps, in post since 2012 in the France team. “I am impressed by his longevity,” he admits, white hair and white beard, a sign of the passing of time. This position requires work and long-term results to deserve it. Otherwise you don't stay. He has won club titles, now as a manager he handles pressure well. He was a world champion as a player and coach, what more can you say than that? Few people can boast of this in the world of football. But despite everything, we will try to shake him up tomorrow (Tuesday).”

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