Rudi Völler's task at the DFB could hardly be more difficult: he should get the national team back on track. However, for this he needs a sports director who will first help him and later replace him. There are three candidates in the room.
Rudi Völler is a busy man. As the sympathetic "Rudi Nationale", the "director of the senior national team" should win back the pissed-off fans, strengthen the ailing national coach Hansi Flick and awaken the old greed for the title in the DFB selection. Incidentally, Völler is looking for the man who is already at his side - and after the home European Championship 2024 should take his place.
A new sports director is to set the course for a golden future at the German Football Association (DFB). Völler, he announced last week before the Sports Committee of the German Bundestag, wants to meet with the candidates with DFB President Bernd Neuendorf these days. "I won't name names," he said, "but it's our turn."
And obviously a good step forward. The "Bild" newspaper reports that Sami Khedira is the favorite for the post. The Rio world champion, advisor to his hometown club VfB Stuttgart and TV expert, did not want to comment on the report when asked. Other candidates are Khedira's world champion colleague Per Mertesacker and managing director Oliver Ruhnert from Bundesliga club Union Berlin.
The task for the new strong man: The national team, said Völler, must "become Germany's favorite child again". It is necessary to create the structures for this. "Only with innovations and renewal," said Völler, referring to the academy system installed by former DFB managing director Oliver Bierhoff, "it won't work". That calls for a man from practice.
The 35-year-old Khedira played 77 times for Germany and was a leading figure at world clubs Real Madrid and Juventus Turin. Bierhoff brought him - and Mertesacker - up for discussion as a candidate for a DFB post in September 2021, shortly after world champion colleague Benedikt Höwedes started there in team management.
As a TV expert, Khedira has an analytical view of German football. The early end of the World Cup, he said, was also "a training issue. The youth academies: We have really good gamers, great footballers. But football is a bit more than gambling. Football is also a mentality". A statement that Völler should have liked. Khedira is also a "fan" of Flick, whom he sees "as an extremely good coach" despite the failure in Qatar.
Mertesacker, candidate number two, also analyzes the DFB international matches on TV and, as academy director at Arsenal FC (since October 2018), has experience in the youth field. The 38-year-old was "very, very happy in London - family and professionally," he said in December, but he did not want to rule out an engagement with the DFB.
Union manager Ruhnert is more offensive. "Of course I can imagine that," said the 51-year-old at the end of February about an association post, "it would even be fun for me to tackle certain things because the DFB has no decision-makers." He sees "too many amateurs at work" there. "Completely crazy processes were set in motion" during the training, criticized the former boss of the Schalke Knappenschmiede. The DFB presidium ultimately decides whether Ruhnert can change course in a responsible position. Völler warned that the youth problems could not be solved overnight even by a new sporting director. It doesn't matter what his name is.