Fabian Otte interview: Jurgen Klopp is a ‘people-fresser’, says Gladbach coach

Fabian Otte shares memories of are recent experience work like a goalkeeper coach in the premier league with Burnley then his face lights up at the memory of one special exchange with a famous compatriot, the Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.

“He was standing on look halfway us warmupsays Otte air sports. “I think he always does.” This was in Can. It was from Burnley final home game of The season.

“Our number three Will Norris started. Maybe Jurgen looked at him. Then he started to smile at me. It is clear that Jurgen Klopp was a big name, I have over heard him, over read it and watched it on television for many years. l just waved back.

“When I” back to the locker room, the kitman said: “Jurgen Klopp was… just over ask you. He said he got this piece over read you and was interested.’ After that I have met talked to him for for a while and he was such a cool person. It was a very interesting experience.

“This is the Liverpool manager. He’d have a thousand better things to do than over read me, but he knew so many details.

“This is a very German word, but if anyone is… people immediately like as a leader, she call him a human-fresher. Literally it means someone who eat people, He is catching people, people just come to him. It got me thinking.

“If He’s Interested” in me so much, how would he be interested? in the employees who he rents and works with on a daily basis? You could immediately imagine following him. This is the property of a very good leader. It’s about knowing people behind the job.”

It’s a lesson die Otte himself is learning while looking forward to the best coach that he can be. To be record is already impressive. Like Burnley he has worked in New Zealand, has a PhD and is now elderly just 30, he’s from Borussia Mönchengladbach goalkeeper coach.

“It’s the little differences die I notice,” he says says of the Bundesliga. “In England nobody can watch the training. In Germany we have 200 fans, sometimes more, looking at each session. two hundred people on watch a tuesday morning us work.

The noise of matchdays surprised him. “It’s so loud you just get goosebumps.” Bayern Munich came to town. “They are so good.” Bayer Leverkusen too. “Very bad fast players.” And Union Berlin? “Very similar to Burnley with the direct balls and the set pieces.”

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His time at Turf Moor as an assistant to experienced goalkeeper coach Billy Mercer was a success. “He was an incredible mentor to me.” He was settled in the area with his British girlfriend and expected to stay. But Gladbach was a huge opportunity for Otte.

“There was no plan to go” back so soon to Germany. The Gladbach thing came out of nowhere, but everyone agreed it was a… chance I probably couldn’t turn down. Being in to upload of the department, it was just An step up the ladder at a big club at a young age.”

It’s Burnley’s proof that one of their staff could go from an assistant? role there, apparently at work with the U23 goalkeepers, in the lead up the goalkeeper department at one of the biggest clubs in the Bundesliga. So, what did he learn on the? club?

“What I’ve learned is that if you’re a clear structure and good leadership at the top – and by that I mean Sean Dyche who put a lot of the structure in place, the staff around him with Ian Woan, Billy Mercer and Steve Stone – you can make up for so many things.

“The players know exactly what the plan is. The club know how things are run. It makes everyone feel of safety. This turned out to be despite the club pick up just two points of the first seven games in the premier league last season. Everyone was so calm.

“I was actually surprised one morning when I walked in. l know Which in Germany would be anyone in panic mode. What are we doing wrong? We must turn every stone and rethink everything we’ve done, want it could be wrong. Those emotions.

“Instead, everyone at Burnley was calm. They said, ‘Every… year we go through a patch of games where we fail win. This year the just by chance at the start of the season, but don’t worry, want everyone knows what the plan is.’

“That’s exactly how it worked out for us. We won some big games Bee big moments against Arsenal, Liverpool and Everton – dominant opponents. This is because the structure was like this clear and the management knew exactly what they were doing wanted To do.

“Each player bought in the whole and this was greater than any individual. That’s the secret at Burnley. It’s from Sean. He doesn’t even do it need to say something, he is such an authority. My only regret is that I didn’t get to see the fans, that was my problem.”

Burnley is seen as one of the premier league more traditional clubs with An more British core than many of their rivals. The appointment of a talented young German coach with a PhD and some innovative ideas may seem contradictory, but there was a logic towards it.

“I asked Billy about that and he was… great over the. He wanted someone who thought differently than him and worked completely differently with the keepers around how he worked with because he thought they needed something new in the building.”

“L know superficially I might not have looked like this good fit, it may have seemed Burnley was the opposite of me in firstbut everyone was very open to that new ideas.”

Otte had previously worked at Hoffenheim, under the more imaginative clubs in European football with their use of tools like the Helix and the Footbonaut. Their keepers even worked with stroboscopic glasses to improve their response times.

“German clubs are unique because they try to be very innovative in their thinking and their use of technology. We also did psychological diagnostics, studied personality profiles in recruitment. It was different way of watch players and how you can develop them.”

In New Zealand, where he worked as the goalkeeper coach of the women’s team, he shared ideas over sports, gaining insight from the All Blacks. “Because it is small country, they are open to it. It was unbelievable to met rugby to talk and cricket coaches.

“A hockey coach came to watch my sessions. He had no doubts about the specific goalkeeper drilling, all he asked was my coaching. Why do you have die question asked? Why did you emphasize this word and not that word? Why were you? body language like this?

“They have a limited number of athletes, so they have to think like this and do things a little differently. The common denominator in my career so far works with clubs and people who are willing to challenge the status quo and think outside of the box.

“A lot of coaches die I had just did things how they had always done them. me always want to think of we do something right way when other methods are possible more successful. How can we improve our training?

“It is difficult for An coach to admit that the way they have done things for year may not be the most effective way and to change what they do. I would never underestimate experience. But what does? science to tell us at? Why can’t we die two not merge?

“You can’t just say that a coach is just An coach. AN coach can also be a sports scientist of a psychologist of a teacher of An father figure. AN coach can be anything. So I want until challenge the status quo to inspire other coaches to innovate too.”

Coaching education is a long-term passion. In the meantime he will get goosebumps again when he are place in the dugout next to the rest of the Gladbach coaching staff on Saturday evening when Stuttgart are the visitors, live on air sports.

“This is the thing over having a doctorate in football. It’s a working-class sport, so being academic is looked at critically. I would never want to stand up in front of people and say I’m Dr Fabian Otte. I feel like I had to be one more credible coach first.”

In the end it’s all about work with people. “If I knew something over cricket of basketball, I probably would enjoy Which just so much because I like to help people to learn.” And for Otte, help people learning means both listening and teaching.

“Nick Pope is a good example. I have a good relation with him and talk met him every other week over goalkeeping and over other things. He sends me clips of keepers, sometimes I send him things. We really have this good connection and this exchange.

“I’m probably learning more out of the conversation than he does, because he has things of his . sees experience. He has points of view die I have not considered accounting for stuff like fans and location conditions. It’s always a two-way street. You can’t think of it as a hierarchy.

“It’s all about finding the connection with the player. If you understand the person, you have hit the nail on the head. It sound cheesy but like a player feels open enough to met you over to talk how they feel like you did it big part of the coaching function.”

Maybe Fabian Otte is a human-fresher at.

Watch Borussia Monchengladbach vs VFB Stuttgart live on Sky Sports Football from 5.20 pm on Saturday; staircaseoff 5.30 pm

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