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Bundesliga Kick off!

On the Spot: Dieter Hecking

Bundesliga Coach Dieter Hecking used to take to the pitch for Hannover, now he's their coach. Right now, he's recovering from the drubbing at the hands of Bayern last Sunday.

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The most annoying thing was that the referee sent me up into the stands. As a coach you don't have much effect during the game anyway, but it's better if you are on the sidelines.

Would it really have mattered against Bayern anyway? From the stands it didn't look pretty. After the 1-0 from Toni, Hanover were obviously struggling, and let another two goals in.

Was it a lack of self confidence from your players?

Yeah, but that shouldn't mean the game is over. But you could just sense from Bayern's body language and their presence on the pitch that they weren't prepared to give us the win. You realise that as an outsider observing the game. Once they got ahead 1-nil, then they showed that they weren't going to surrender that lead. The players are pushing themselves to the limit - that is definitely the case in Hanover. Obviously, its improved in the last one and a half years, things are on their way up. But we've gone 4 matches without a win now, and Hanover always has to be wary of that. But, as a whole, we are definitely playing at a higher standard now. +++

How would you describe the standard of Bundesliga football? Is it better or worse than people say? I mean, teams like Wolfsburg are winning against Schalke...

Yeah okay but that's the attraction of the Bundesliga. I think that in the other leagues it would be very rare that the second or third placed team loses to the tenth placed team at home. It would only happen rarely. But that makes the German league attractive. In the other leagues you really only watch the top games - Arsenal versus Chelsea, Liverpool against Man U. I mean a game between Birmingham and Arsenal is not that amazing. It's like watching Cottbus play Leverkusen.

Or like Cottbus versus Hanover, where Hecking's team lost 5-1.

The week before Hanover scored 4 goals to beat Bremen. The season has been up and down for the team and its coach.

What are the greatest fears that a coach has?

I'm not really afraid of anything. When you do this job you have to accept the nature of the work. You don't really have any time off - but you don't want to either because you want to have success on a weekly basis. If I was to be fearful of things then I just couldn't deal with the stress of the job.

How would you describe yourself on the sideline on a scale of 1 to 10: 1 would be peaceful, 10 would be an absolute firebrand.

I'd say six.

What do you mean by six?

Six means that I am sometimes highly emotional, sometimes less so. That comes from my high level of involvement. I always try to remain composed though. However, emotion on the sidelines is just as important as on the pitch.

Mmmh, a six. 11 would have probably been closer to the mark.

We first got to know Hecking from his success at Aachen. In Autumn 2006 he transferred to Hanover.

Would it be fair to say that your career path - starting at the bottom and working your way up the ranks - has been helpful for your development?

Everyone has had their own way of getting to where we are now. One has played at the highest level himself and then jumps in to a coaching role. Others have experience as the assistant coach somewhere. I had to go via the small clubs. I had the time to test that it was the right thing for me. Until now it has been quite successful. Certainly, even I hope that one day I will coach a top team. That's my next goal. It doesn't have to be tomorrow but it has to be my goal at some stage. Then I will approach the job just like I have done in Hannover, Lübeck or Aachen.

Now to something different: You are actually a qualified policeman. How much does that training influence your work as coach?

Yeah people always play with the policeman cliché. Really the effect on my coaching approach is minimal. In my time with the police I learned discipline, an ability to live according to the rules - but that's pretty much the only things I've retained from that time.

After da Silva from Cottbus fouled one of your players you called for him to be banned for life from playing football. Is that because of your time as a policeman.?

No, its not that. It can happen once and it happens to all of us. When a movement of the arm is considered to be an attack then that can be hard on a player. But in this case with da Silva I you get the feeling that he deliberately did it again. I'm no champion of justice, but I have to denounce that sort of behaviour. We have to set a good example. That's the reason why I am angry when I get sent from the sidelines by the referee. For that reason I've got no sympathy for da Silva in this situation, the 8 week ban is absolutely justified.

Still a bit of a policeman then, at heart. But there is a softer side: despite his success at Aachen, Hecking's move to Hanover was family motivated.

Its no secret that I am a bit of a family man, my family IS important for me. My children are aged between six and twenty-two. I have two boys - they are massive football fans of course. But with our family, they all know what I do and what the job is like, and so it is never a big issue at home. Sure, with the game against Bayern, we would have talked about it a bit differently had Hanover won. But just because we lost 3-nil doesn't mean the kids will say "hey you could have done that better, or that was rubbish". That's important for us: what happens at work, stays at work.

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