The Bundesliga column: coach Heinz HOher and the Neuner – football


By Mirko Weber

Mirko WeberMirko Weber (miw)profile

The coach Heinz HOher, successful also with the 1. FC Nuremberg, died at 81 years. He knew 35 years ago what a fake nine is. Today, many could need a ninth, says our columnist Mirko Weber.

Coach Heinz HOher (right) also formed Stefan Reuter to the national team. Photo: imago / Rust

Coach Heinz HOher (right) also formed Stefan Reuter to the national team.

Photo: imago / Rust

Stuttgart – A center forward, who is not there, where a center forward would have to stand in the name, is called false nine. One can argue as long as nerdig, who invented the wrong nine. Sepp Herberger, he still lived, would probably swear to have already guessed more than 1954 at the World Championships in Switzerland, that the Hungarian Nandor Hidegkuti was one who presented the balls to a certain extent – and of course played the Dutch "Voetbal Totaal "again and again with the idea until Lionel Messi perfected the action circles of the man who comes from the depths of the room in his own unpredictability.

Faible for the offside trap

In Germany, on the other hand, none of the apostrophized master trainers took a liking to the fake nine, only in Bochum in the seventies did someone dare to give up the nominal central breaker – that was Heinz HOher, who died late last week (moreover, he had, that too was new, a penchant for the offside trap). Higher, born in 1938, when he was still a player, at Leverkusen and Meidericher SV on the court and in the notebook of Sepp Herberger, but never made it to the national team.

Nevertheless, he kept certain records. For seven years, he has not been beaten before or after him as a coach on Castroper Street – and also in Nuremberg, where he officiated from 1984 to 1988 (and together with President Gerd Schmelzer once sacked half the team during the season), he holds still the club record. Higher had an eye for talents: Grahammer, Eckstein, Schwabl, Reuter and Koepke became international under him. Words were not his thing, on the one hand: was considered higher, as Ronald Reng has written in a book about him and "The other history of the Bundesliga", as an eminent silence. On the other hand, he left less proverbial wisdom – and even wrote a rather eloquent children's book, "Tommo". He permanently defeated his greatest enemy only 10 years before his death: the alcohol.

Changed – across Europe – is often higher, and often stuck with so-called difficult clubs. Only in Cologne he was never, his luck, probably. Even today, no person in charge can really gain a permanent foothold there. Shortly one after the other go in Mungersdorf now Armin Veh, the former CEO Sport, and Achim Beierlorzer, the coach. The former has at least had some share in the prompt re-emergence of the club. Nevertheless: Are you resigned as a chief buyer prematurely at the club, if the stands on a relegation zone?

Cup out in Saarbrucken

Beierlorzer, however, also had a lot of bad luck (and the observers in the Cologne video evidence headquarters often in dubious ways against, as now again at the home game against Hoffenheim at the last minute). But eight defeats in eleven games and a cup-out in Saarbrucken on top of that have been a bit too much. As it happens, today is the 11th 11th; Traditionally, not much happens at the office. After that, 1. FC KOln needs a center forward, who knows where he is – and preferably a team and a coach around it, who know the positionally well. It might also be a real nine, as it would be needed at the moment in Mainz, Augsburg and especially in Paderborn.

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