Germany is one of the leading nations in world soccer and this is reflected at the ongoing Asian Cup in Qatar, with Holger Osieck coaching Australia and the presence of Iraq’s German manager Wolfgang Sidka.
Australian players celebrate after scoring against India - their team is among the favorites
German coaches have worked in the Gulf region for years and experts in the field say that their influence is tangible.
"I can mainly judge the situation in the Middle East, a region which I know very well, having worked in Bahrain, in Qatar and now in Iraq," Iraq coach Wolfgang Sidka told Deutsche Welle.
"I know that German coaches are highly appreciated here - as are Germans in general. We are known for working with a lot of discipline and we perform well for the money we get. We don't just take but we also give, and that's why we enjoy a good reputation here."
Iraq manager Wolfgang Sidka knows the Middle East very well
Iraq are defending champions
Sidka is also aware that there is particular attention at this Asian Cup on his team, who are the defending champions.
"There are many teams, which can win the title," he said. "We are one of them, but there are eight or nine others. You also need luck. But we are well prepared and optimistic."
Holger Osieck's Australians are also counted among the favorites. In their first match, they defeated India 4-0.
Honored to coach Australia
Osieck, who has also worked in different parts of Asia, says he felt honored to be asked by the Australians to coach their national squad.
"I never made any effort, and I don't have an agent either. They approached me, we talked. There were certainly other possible candidates as well, but in the end I was selected. It is a real honor for me to coach the national team of a country of this size. It is something special for them to take on a foreigner. Australia is not some under-developed country after all, which would be happy to get help from abroad."
German-Asian football relations have also been strengthened by the many Asian imports who play in the German Bundesliga, such as Borussia Dortmund's Japanese star Shinji Kagawa and Wolfsburg's Makoto Hasebe.
More signings of Asian players likely
Over the past few weeks alone, numerous Asian players have been signed by German clubs and more signings seem possible with German scouts closely watching the players at the tournament here in Qatar.
Holger Osieck says he was honored to be chosen to coach Australia
Especially since Germany’s success in the 2010 World Cup, the reputation and standing of German football appears to have gone up across Asia with people showing more interest in the German Bundesliga and the German national team.
Holger Osieck, however, maintains that even before, he always encountered a positive image of German football across the Asian continent.
Author: Arunava Chaudhuri (Qatar)
Editor: Thomas Baerthlein