Maintaining the proven and venturing new things – INTERVIEW WITH OLIVER BIERHOFF

If you are the market leader, you also want to remain the market leader - all the more so if market leadership means being the world champion. Oliver Bierhoff, manager of the German national football team, explains how the DFB team plans to maintain its leading position and where the DFB draws inspiration for innovation.

Mr Bierhoff, you played in Italy for a long time in the 90s. Is the cliché true that there the football is more tactical than in Germany?

OB - Yes, the Italians love to engage in tactics. This applies to players, coaches as well as fans. For them, a tactically well-played 0:0 is more interesting and pleasant than a runaway victory, which was created by tactical errors. Accordingly, much more importance is attached to tactics in all areas.

Since your time as a player, a lot has changed, especially in the tactical area. Today, the coach receives support in the form of game analysts and statisticians. Which way does the national team go in this area?

OB - Big Data is becoming increasingly important in football as well. We use the wealth of information not only for more individualized and detailed analysis, but also for the planning of the training. Using software developed by our partner SAP, players receive their individual feedback.

Do you see further development or optimization potential here?

OB - We always work on optimizations and they will surely result with the extension of the technical possibilities. It will be important in the end to explain the many data and information to decision-makers in a condensed and efficient way.

The coaching team of the national team develops its own tactics on and on. How difficult is it to reinvent yourself after great successes such as the World Championship title?

OB - You always have to question yourself and never believe that you have arrived at your destination. Ultimately, it's a mix: maintaining the proven and venturing new things. Because our work is constantly evaluated by the public, there is never a lack of motivation to try new things.

Where does a football association draw inspiration to optimize its own processes?

OB - There is still a lot of air in it. For example, in our academy we want to use the experience and knowledge of our strong partners for our own processes. I am a friend of constantly looking beyond one's own area of business and being inspired by outsiders with other thinking processes.

With the DFB Academy you want to create a central location for the organization of the association as well as for the further education of trainers and youth national players. What incentives does the DFB expect from the academy?

OB - We want to further develop football and further expand our leading position in world football. German football is well organized, and in the academy we want to network national teams, training and research in such a way that we can train the champions of the coming years. The sporting success of our teams also secures the revenue of the association.

The full interview was published in the STRICHPUNKT magazine 2017.