On his first day of work at the DFB headquarters in Frankfurt, Andreas Rettig got lost on the way to breakfast. However, the new sports director of the German Football Association did not want to see this as a bad omen for his future work.
“I hope I get my bearings quickly,” said the 60-year-old at his official introduction. This applies not only to the running paths in the huge DFB campus, but even more to the diverse tasks that Rettig and the association have to solve. “The situation is economically challenging and sportingly difficult, but with bright spots,” said Rettig about his new employer, with whom he signed a contract until December 31, 2026 last Friday.
The surprising signing of the former Bundesliga manager, who has often taken on the German football establishment as a critical warning in the past, was not received favorably by everyone. Accompanied by criticism of the unanimous decision, Bayern Munich supervisory board member Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and RB Leipzig supervisory board chairman Oliver Mintzlaff announced their resignation from the DFB task force.
Rettig reacts calmly to Rummenigge criticism
“I realized that I wasn’t necessarily FC Bayern’s preferred candidate,” said Rettig. "I know the strained relationship. We'll need FC Bayern, it's the most important club. It's no use if we split up here." He is striving for an open exchange with those responsible in Munich, which should not fail due to “personal animosity”.
However, a first attempt to talk to Bayern grandees Rummenigge and Uli Hoeneß failed. He "spoke to Mr. Hoeneß on the voicemail and wrote a text message to Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, but received no response," reported Rettig and appealed: "It's about everyone who means well for German football getting along."
There was at least support from DFL boss Hans-Joachim Watzke, with whom Rettig had also fought many a dispute in the past. The managing director of Borussia Dortmund and chairman of the supervisory board of the German Football League described his relationship with Rettig when they had “very contrary views” in some subject areas. Therefore, there was a personal conversation before Rettig's appointment to resolve possible differences, reported Watzke. He then signaled his approval of the personnel to DFB President Bernd Neuendorf.
A smooth collaboration with Rudi Völler will be at least as important for Rettig. The sports director responsible for the national team announced that he wanted to work constructively with his superior despite once having different views.
Völler wants cooperation with Rettig
"In the past, Andreas Rettig and I have had one or two differences of opinion when it comes to fundamental football issues. However, in a responsible position at the DFB, it is important to adapt personal beliefs to reality and subordinate them to the benefit of German football as a whole," said Völler .
Rettig is relying on Völler's charisma for a new sporting start. “This has already begun in small, delicate steps,” he said. At the same time, Rettig made it clear when he took office that he would not be actively involved in the ongoing search for a national coach: "Rudi Völler is in the lead in this process."
Management will only be involved in the process when it comes to salary issues and a contract term for Hansi Flick's successor. “Ultimately, this is about assessing professional competence,” said Rettig. "He's superior to me in that respect."
There had been speculation in recent days about candidates for what Rettig called the “most important office in German football”. Julian Nagelsmann (36), who is still under contract with the Munich team after leaving FC Bayern in March, is considered a promising candidate. The names of the Dutchman Louis van Gaal (72) and the former U21 coach Stefan Kuntz (60), who, according to media reports, lost his job as Turkey's national coach, were also mentioned more and more often.
National coach search: DFB now wants to hold concrete discussions
DFB boss Neuendorf confirmed that the association had set the most important guidelines for itself, such as financial viability, and would now hold concrete discussions. The 63-year-old did not want to reveal whether there was just one or several candidates. “We are a significant step further compared to after the game against France,” said Neuendorf.
The aim is for the new national coach to be on board when the national team leaves for the USA on October 9th. The DFB selection will play against the USA on October 14th and against Mexico three days later. Regardless of who will hold the position and lead the national team to the home European Championship in 2024, Rettig has already given the future motto for the DFB: “We have to see that we not only reach the wallets, but also the hearts.”