News : Japan: Thorsten Fink trains Podolski and Iniesta – Sport

News :

Japan: Thorsten Fink trains Podolski and Iniesta - Sport

The melody of the Japanese language is beautiful. It sometimes looks like fast baroque music, which winds around the themes in splendid sound swirls. But she can also be direct and say everything you need to know in short sentences. Anyone who learns new, soon suspects that it has a very own depth, and the syllables from which their words form, can catch a common German speaker in the beginning not so easy.

The German football coach Thorsten Fink can now tell of this, since he has been leading the professional team of J-League club Vissel Kobe for almost three months. He did not release the farewell message the other day at the press conference after the 2: 3 home defeat against Sapporo. Other words are easier for him to do over his tongue. For example, when he talks about the mood at his new club, he says, "Sugoi." Madness.

Lukas Podolski Vissel MARCH 2 2019 Football Soccer 2019 J1 League match between Vissel Kob

Since July 2017 at Kobe: Lukas Podolski.


The world is big, football is everywhere, and football coaches from Europe are considered coveted missionaries of the game, especially in Asia. Thus, many a coach who would have remained unemployed on the so-called old continent found a good job in the distance. Also Thorsten Fink, 51, former professional at Bayern and today a coach whose professional life has settled between celebrated and fired. FC Basel, Hamburger SV, Apoel Nicosia, Austria Vienna, Grasshopper Zurich have been their stations for the past ten years, not the best, but not the worst.

"Here I can achieve something," says Fink

After his dismissal at the later relegated Swiss record champion Grasshopper, he saw no reason under pressure to grab the next best offer. "I also had a good career as a player, so I do not need that much now to travel everywhere." But when Vissel Kobe called from Japan, the club of three former World Champions Andrés Iniesta, David Villa (both Spain) and Lukas Podolski (Germany), he did not think that was the next best offer: "I was interested in that," he says.

Fink is sitting in a functional room at the training ground of Vissel. The morning session is over, he brought home coffee and looks relaxed. The sporting situation could be better. The J-League season runs from February to December, when Fink arrived in June, Kobe was in 13th, far from the declared goal to play in the championship. The Spaniard Juan Manuel Lillo had not renewed his contract in April after eight months of engagement. Successor Takayuki Yoshida stayed two months. Now Fink is to judge with his longtime assistant Sebastian Hahn. "A new era" Vissel exclaimed at the presentation. And Fink sees his chance: "Here I can achieve something."

Kobe, the capital of Hyogo Prefecture, is a narrow house carpet between mountains and sea on the southern edge of Honshu Island. 1.5 million people live there. Nevertheless, the city looks peaceful compared to the densely populated cities of Japan. Calmly. As if she had the worst already behind her - which is hopefully true.

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A German coach teaches the canaries to fly

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Because a natural disaster has influenced Kobe: the Great Hanshin earthquake on 17 January 1995. Kobe was then only 20 kilometers from the epicenter and broke within 20 seconds. 4600 people died, traffic routes and bridges were destroyed. Today, the city looks like newly built and draws strength from the memory of the joint effort. In the harbor you can see how wrong the lanterns were at that time. In the Higashi Yuenchi Park, the golden marina of the sculptor Yuki Shintani rests with her clock, which broke then and since then shows the time of the quake: 5:46 clock.

And Vissel, just a few months before the quake emerged from the Kawasaki Steel Corporation's Mizushima Soccer Club, wants to be part of the myth. The club's anthem recalls the power of reconstruction ("Wounded together, got up together"). On the homepage, the club evokes unity with the city and its people. And the boss of the whole is a son of Kobes, which inspired the perseverance of the people after the quake: Hiroshi Mikitani, 54, self-made billionaire and pioneer of e-commerce, founded in 1997, the online retailer Rakuten, who has become a formative sports sponsor is. Mikitani owns a baseball team in Japan, sponsors the NBA club Golden State Warriors in the US and FC Barcelona in Spain - and he is the almighty owner of Vissel Kobe.

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