A distinguished career as a player saw Stefan Reuter lift all major silverware in football, namely the World Cup, European Championship and the Champions League apart from several other titles during his spells in Germany, mainly with Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.

Known as ‘Turbo’ for his speed on the field, Reuter was one of the most accomplished players in the history of German football having been part of the German team that won the 1990 World Cup as well and 1996 European Championship.

Today, Reuter is hoping to excel in his role as general manager of Bundesliga side Augsburg who are looking to establish themselves in the German top-flight. 

Nonetheless, the former Borussia Dortmund player still has fond memories of his playing days, including a particular game where the German side clashed with Floriana in the 1992-93 UEFA Cup.

For the record, Borussia Dortmund managed to shake off a poor start in the second leg winning 7-2 after being held 2-2 in the first half by the Greens.

“I remember playing in Malta 27 years ago while at Borussia Dortmund as we faced Floriana in the UEFA Cup,” Reuter told a news conference.

“I spent 12 years at Borussia Dortmund, and I have made some great memories while playing there. 

“I am also very proud to have been a team-mate of players like Lothar Matthaeus and Mattias Sammer who made the history of German football.”

Asked about the differences in the athleticism and quality of the game, Reuter highlighted the fact that football has become faster nowadays.

“I think that today football has become quicker, even though it is still a bit individualistic at times,” he said.

“Teams are becoming tactically more astute and this helps them to block all spaces, making it more difficult for players to breakdown defensive lines.”

The mantra of being a hard team to beat is something that Augsburg are trying to implement in their idea of football.

A string of positive results just before the winter break saw them move up to 10th in the Bundesliga but once the league resumes later this month, they are in for a stiff challenge against one of Reuter’s former sides, Dortmund.

“The Malta training camp has been very important for us because we have had a good time together as a team, while preparing for the next league matches in well-equipped facilities,” the former Germany international said.

“Also, having the opportunity to play two friendlies gives our players the chance to gain much-needed playing time and be prepared for the resumption of the Bundesliga.

“Our team’s physical condition is very good, hence we focused a lot on the tactical part of the game during our stay in Malta.”

In facing Dortmund in their first Bundesliga game of 2020, Augsburg’s task has become even more difficult as Lucien Favre’s team have acquired the services of youth sensation Erling Haaland from Red Bull Salzburg – scorer of eight goals in six games in the Champions League this season.

“I know that he scored a lot for Salzburg but at the moment I am reading that he might not start against us,” Reuter said.

“However, our coach will remain concentrated in trying to put our team in the best possible conditions to defeat Dortmund – with or without Haaland, to remain on track for our objective.”

Augsburg’s main target every season is that to avoid relegation and they are on the right track in reaching their objective for the ninth straight season.

“At the start it was not easy for us as we brought in 12 players and we struggled a bit but then we embarked on a positive streak that enabled us to sit at 10th,” Reuter explained.

“For us, it is very important to remain in the German top-flight, even though this season seems a bit complicated for everyone because there are tight battles for every spot in the standings.

“Obviously, reaching European football would be a great showcase for us.

“We already managed once by qualifying to the Europa League, where we faced Liverpool and managing to achieve the same objective would make everyone happy at the club.”

Unlike the major leagues across Europe, the Bundesliga has a different ownership model.

50+1 rule

In fact, German teams are all under the ‘50+1’ ownership norm which means that clubs, and fans, hold a majority of their voting rights.

Teams whose commercial investors own over 49 per cent of the club would not be allowed to compete according to the German Football League rules.

In recent years, several clubs, including top sides like Bayern and Dortmund, called out for a change in this model as they feel this puts the Bundesliga at a disadvantage when compared to the investments made by other clubs like Real Madrid and Barcelona.

“Given that this rule stems from an old tradition, I am pleased with it,” Reuter explained.

“When you see the private investment of some of the best teams across the world, maybe something it needs to be done – but ultimately, it suits our club’s policy.” 

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us