Felix Magath has provided another chapter of unusual coaching to his uncommon career.
Due to a positive Covid-19 test only days after the start of his rescue mission at the struggling side of Hertha BSC, the former Bayern Munich and Fulham coach had to quarantine in a hotel. Nevertheless, he managed to trigger a surprising 3-0 victory over one of the Bundesliga’s leading clubs, the TSG Hoffenheim.
Magath strengthened his reputation to be one of the most gifted motivators in soccer no matter how tricky the situation might be.
The 68-year-old might be what you call a member of the older generation still aware of times without mobile phones and modern communication tools such as video calls. On match day morning, the three times German champion, used a rather common method as he dialed a couple of times to talk to several players.
Two hours in advance of the game’s kick-off, he drew a video call to trigger motivation among his new team.
At half-time, the former Germany international-turned coach again appeared on a screen in the team’s locker room to issue new instructions.
The Berlin club’s goalkeeping coach Andreas Menger was seen with earplugs on during the 90 minutes, obviously receiving instructions from Magath’s hotel room.
Menger several times talked to Hertha’s assistant coach Mark Fotheringham after listening to orders from the head coach.
Hertha player Marco Richter reported about a turn-around moment for the team after Magath was appointed as the successor of former coach Tayfun Korkut.
“There somehow was a click in our heads after the change of coaches. Mr. Magath got to our heads with his comments and actions,” the striker said.
Fans in the Berlin arena seemed to feel the new spirit and developed enthusiasm not seen for a long time.
Magath’s connections to his assistant coach did the rest. The vivid and determined Scotsman turned into the head coach’s natural speaker.
The Berlin coach seems an inexhaustible source of motivation tools, reports Xinhua.
Taking over Bayern in 2004, he asked well-known but emerging German international Bastian Schweinsteiger: “Who are you?” Schweinsteiger felt the desire to prove his quality to his new coach. “I was so surprised but got the message, it’s not the time to count on past success,” the midfielder reported.
In Wolfsburg in 2009, he discovered “that most humans set borders for themselves. It is up to me to extend these borders and talk about ambitious far away goals.”
When working in England and China, he got the outside view,”everyone is happy with just playing in the first division. It’s important to set goals, most must be unrealistic or visionary,” Magath said.
For the start in Berlin, the 1983 Champions League winner seems to found the right path to revitalize a struggling team.
Next time, when facing Leverkusen in his second game in charge, Magath has to think about new measures as he is going to turn up in person in front of his players.
The Hertha coach might most likely have recovered until April 2 as the Bundesliga is taking a break due to the international time-table. As it seems, that should be plenty of time for Magath to come up with the next inspiring move.