Back from Bad Münder: Interview with Michael Koziol
05 Dec 2013 at 17:50 | Published by: Hans | Views: 8321 | News search
Michael Koziol getting interviewed by German television in Bad Münder (Photo by Martin Becker 2013)
Interview with Michael Koziol (MK), Germany and Hardenberg
This interview was done the 5th of December 2013. Interviewer is Hans Bergström (HB).
HB: First of all congratulations your great season of 2013 and especially the German success at the World Championships in Bad Münder. I guess you had high expectations before the competition so was the result in line with your expectations?
MK: Thank you so much! This was a great year for the German Minigolf Federation.
The expectations and the pressure have been extreme, the success has paid out and the hard work we put in. The titles for the team and one individual title in stroke play was the minimum we expected, everything else we grasped was a bonus we are happy for, and we worked for.
HB: So, can you tell our readers who is Michael Koziol?
MK: A man who loves minigolf - that's all ;-)
HB: If we back up a bit to the months before Bad Münder, can you first describe how you thought when nominating a quite young and inexperienced ladies team for the WC?
MK: During our season preparation we had to compensate some drop outs. This was the chance for our young newcomers, and we happily acknowledged that we are very well prepared for the future.
HB: And at the men’s side, was there any hard decisions to be made for the nominations?
MK: Yes and No, I took great caution on the decisions that I had to make, and I did not make it easy for myself. We had a strong inside competition, Martin Stöckle, Oleg Klassen, Robin Hettrich and Marco Henning missed it by a notch to be in. Finally it was a spontaneously decision by instinct.
HB: Playing at home you had the advantage of being able to prepare thoroughly. Can you give us an insight on how the preparations were done before Bad Münder?
MK: The best training is to play competitions. Federal League, Feltmasters (all categories) as well as Nations Cup, this summary are the best training camp.
HB: And when the tournament started the German ladies struggled a bit on the first day being behind Austria. Bianca Zodrow was telling our readers that it actually didn’t look so good the last days of training, so with this in mind were you ever nervous for the girls?
MK: Actually not, I knew at one point, our quality will enforce. Naturally it became a hard fight, but victories like this you do keep in memory. I am very proud for my young girls.
HB: Also the men had a close battle with the Swedes all the way to the last round. What happened that on this last round that secured the win for Germany?
MK: Unfortunately we moved ourselves in this bad position, only at the last round we were able to call of our training achievements. After this we wrote history.
HB: Then there were close wins both for Bianca and Achim in the stroke play. Can you tell us the feeling of watching this kind of drama from the side?
MK: The last years I, as the trainer, stood outside the match area, which really drove me crazy. This time I was on the course as coach, and always had contact to both of them. This gives you the feeling to have an influence on the match. It gave me the feeling I had everything under control. At the end the final result was very close, and a little luck also helps you to win.
HB: In the match play there was a quite special match between Filiph Svensson and your club mate Walter Erlbruch. Even though Walter made a brilliant match he lost on the 11th overtime lane. How did it feel watching your fellow club mate loos this intense match?
MK: A great match a great advertisement for our sport and the match play mode. Similar in quality to the WC 2007 - match between Marco Templin and Rudy Giroldini.
It was a good feeling to see how Walter played this match. He was in very good concentration and extreme focused. The smallest mistake will call the final decision and this was clear from the beginning on. When the second stroke on the bridge luckily went in, "like a net roller in tennis", I hoped we would see more of that kind.
At that point in the match it did not matter anymore who would win, I just did not want to see the end of this performance.
HB: A bit later Dennis Kapke won against Filiph to secure the fifth gold medal. But in the ladies match play it was not to be a German gold. So in the end your team took five of six gold. I guess you can say the results was pretty good or?
MK: Just great, what else could I say! If we would have had won all 6 Gold Medals, we would have no goals no more ;-) This way we have a good reason to carry on.
I do believe though that you will not have many chances to grasp the 6-gold jackpot in your career. That’s why it is maybe just a little bit sad, but we still have the chance for more and even greater entries in the history books ;-)
HB: How was these results received by the German press and Minigolf community?
MK: We naturally received loads of good positive feedback, it is a great feeling to make our fans happy and a dream becomes true.
HB: Have you ever been thinking that a nation dominating like this is maybe not in the best interest of the development of the sport?
MK: Like in football it is not a step in the wrong direction just because Spain gets the majority of the winnings. Instead I do see it the opposite way. I have the view and I hope that we are a good example for other nations.
HB: Have you any ideas about how Minigolf can be a bigger and more recognized sport in the future?
MK: We do need more money and a higher presence in the media. Maybe we do have to follow the Russians, and cooperate with the Golf Association. If we do have more prize money, we will also have more and better players.
HB: There are rumors about a potential retirement from the international stage in a soon future for the Erlbruch brothers? When do you think this will happen and how big will the effect be on the German team when they have stopped?
MK: Everything has an end sometime. Even the brothers will stop and we will carry on. We are in possession of many good young players.
After the Erlbruch era the team will for sure have a different appearance, there will be no second Walter or a second Harald. But Brazil also became another time World Champion in soccer after Pele ;-)
HB: Your club Hardenberg is winning the German Bundesliga almost every season, but in later years you have lost the Europacup to Uppsala 6 of the seven last years. What can you do to win over Uppsala next year and secure your tenth title in the EC?
MK: We have good qualifications, we are in the game. Whoever seeks Europe's crown must get passed us first.
Sometimes you loose, sometimes you win, though I think the history of our losses gives me confidence for the future. In Verigate we played very bad. In Vizela it was a great performance of Uppsala, they played very well, but also the course was not difficult which brought the scores closer together. Then this year in Holesov we only had one bad round, there for it was a pity we lost.
HB: Just like Uppsala you are almost the same team as seven years ago. Is this a problem as you see it that it’s hard getting new and younger players on-board?
MK: No, so far no one wanted to quit, and why alternate. By my feeling, we are the best team- we just have been unlucky. The fact that we didn't win it’s just what can happen in sports.
HB: This year as many years in the past you were yourself one of the best players on the Europacup. How come you play so good in the EC so often?
MK: I did not become coach because my game is getting bad. And it’s a fact that there are more good players than good trainers in our sport.
The EC is the main event for me as a player. I love to play this competition but even more, it gives me the best feeling when our team is winning and to be a part of it.
HB: Which is the best female and male player in the world right now as you see it?
MK: Bianca is the best woman player and most likely it’s CJ within the men!
I do not know if CJ would have become World Champion in Bad Münder. Achim and Filiph are also very good single players at the moment.
HB: How long are you planning to still be the German head coach?
MK: As long as it gives me enjoyment, so far there is no end in sight. I like the mixture of National Coach and Player of the Company!
HB: Again a big congratulation to the great 2013 season and good luck in the future.
MK: Thank you very much!