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‘He became a different person’ How Andre Breitenreiter Breathes New Hope in FCZ

FC Zurich will travel to Basel for the first match on Sunday. The club has settled in surprisingly fast under new coach Andre Breitnerretter – what’s behind it?

New boss, new luck? FCZ made the most recent fresh start with André Breitenreiter.

Ennio Linza / Cornerstone

In order to stand up to FC Zurich as a fan, only one thing helped for a while: humor. “We congratulate the first club for winning the third league in a row,” he wrote in large letters at the end of last season in the southern curve. The widening gap between claim and reality could not have been summed up much better. A few days later, the experience with Massimo Rizzo as coach ended. FCZ faced a fresh start once again.

The man who put presidential couple Canepa and sporting director Marinko Jorndić this fresh start into their hands is Andrei Breitenreiter. The 47-year-old, who is German, has lasted two years without a job because he was looking after his ailing father in his hometown of Hanover.

New FCZ: Don’t immediately fall apart when the going gets tough

And here it is: suddenly FCZ remembers a working group. One wins the close matches. One develops a game idea. And one that “doesn’t collapse right away and give up when things get tough.” That’s what Andre Breitenreiter said on Friday in Zurich as he looks forward to the first match against FC Basel. In a good mood, he spent a good half an hour talking about his team’s next challenge. “To everyone’s surprise, we got off to a good start. We don’t want to let the ecstasy take us away, but at the same time we want to stay awkward. And don’t take it for granted that things are going well. Because anyone who thinks this way has already made the first mistake.” To everyone’s surprise? Not quite, he admits, he believed himself in FCZ.

It’s clear that in just a few weeks the Breitnererer has managed to create a spirit of optimism around the club. How did he do this?

The high instinct: who accepts direct criticism and who does not?

Jannick Brecher is a veteran Zurich player and has been the undisputed goalkeeper since the start of 2018. He struggled a lot at FCZ. Now he says: “Breitnerter has a clear idea, conveys it simply and clearly and has an excellent knowledge of human nature. He draws his line and knows to whom he can speak and how.” Not everyone can accept criticism as much.

Seven games, three goals and three assists: Striker Asan Sesay is no longer recognizable under new coach Andre Breitnerretter.

Seven games, three goals and three assists: Striker Asan Sesay is no longer recognizable under new coach Andre Breitnerretter.

Andy Muller / Fresh Fox

Perhaps the best way to explain Breitenreiter is with Assan Ceesay. A striker who shoots balls and does not emit a millimeter of danger has developed into a goalscorer with a great deal of self-confidence. “Sesay has become a different person,” Precher says. This has a lot to do with Breitnerreiter.

Has the FCZ patient already been treated?

Sporting director Jørndic watches Zed football club training on this wonderful sunny day in early fall. He sees André Breitnerreiter who communicates a lot and praises a lot. But he who calls once angrily:

“Rhythm! To play! Shot on goal! Why does it have to be eight paces before graduating? Being assertive and direct, made us that strong and that’s what we’re missing out on now—I have no idea why!”

But it only takes a few seconds for Breitenreiter to return to praise mode. Gorendyk sees a “strong character” in Breitnerretter. Someone who is open to Swiss culture and the general conditions prevailing in FCZ. “He has a clear plan for that and he’s asking for it from his players.”

Of course, you shouldn’t make the mistake of considering a FCZ patient to have recovered in the long run. The season is still too young for that. The club has faced a lot of difficulties because of this in recent years.

Praise for Basel: “FCZ has a lot of self-confidence”

However, there are indications that the club’s many changes – there have been 26 staff changes over the summer – are paying off. Competition also noted. This is how FCB coach Patrick Rahman said before the first fight:

“FCZ is compact, which is impressive. You show your enthusiasm for the game, you have a good mix in a team of good footballers, physical presence and fast people. Most of all, what has changed is that they perform with more confidence. Breitnerreiter conveyed that to the team well. “.

And now the classic FCB vs FCZ finally deserves the top game again. When asked about the importance of the game, Breitnerreiter said: “Of course I also know May 13, 2006.” But Breitenreiter did not come to immerse himself in the club’s past. He prefers to take care of the new chapters of success himself.

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