Off to Predazzo: Interview with Michael Neuland
20 Aug 2010 at 07:01 | Published by: Hans | Views: 6101 | News search
Michael Neuland the German Head Coach shows what he can do with Minigolfballs. (Photo by Michael Neuland 2009)
Interview with Michael Neuland, Head Coach of Germany,
This interview was done in August 2010. Interviewer is Hans Bergström (HB).
HB: First of all thank you for letting Minigolfnews interview you again.
HB: Its now one year from our last interview and the 2010 season is ready for the Championships. How has the 2010 season been in Germany so far? Have there been any surprises or new players breaking through?
MN: This season there were no big surprises. In the Bundesliga Hardenberg won the men’s title as expected, and also Göttingens victory in the women’s category was no surprise. Göttingen are performing equally as well as last year’s winner, Mainz. Between these two teams there are only small coincidences deciding.
Individually the usual players have been ahead, this year the new players haven’t been able to match the top players. There are of course some talented players, but they have to compete with the more experienced players to take a place in their team and that is no easy mission.
HB: This is your third year as Head Coach for Germany or Bundestrainer as it’s called in Germany and I guess it’s now business as usual for you. Have you changed anything in your way of working during the last year?
MN: Basically my way of working hasn’t changed. Of course you gain more experience every year. Therefore it gets easier for me to make the right priorities and (hopefully :) ) to make the right decisions. Since I now know the players better, we can also use their individual skills in a better favor for the team.
HB: In some countries every second when the European Championship is played year seem too seen as not so important as the World Championships Years. What is your opinion about that?
MN: For me there is no difference between the European Championships and the World Championships. Since the competitive level ist he same in EC and WC, both titles have the same value for us. There are no better players outside Europe than the European players, therefore our players have the same motivation weather it’s EC or WC.
HB: Now the Bundesliga have played Winter-Season mode the last two years. Has this been good or bad as you see it?
MN: This is a controversial question in Germany and it has been discussed a lot. There are arguments for and against both ways. I really don’t think it matters which way we choose.
HB: Do you think that it would be good if more skilled foreigners played in the Bundesliga to make the competition tougher?
MN: Even though there are some very skilled foreign players already in the Bundesliga, I wouldn’t mind if there were more. It would be even more exciting if the teams from the midfield oft he Bundesliga could get some new foreigners to their teams. However it is not easy for most teams to finance the travel costs for foreign players. In the Bundesliga you must invest much time to keep up a high level.
HB: Do you have any reflections on the Odense Championships that you want to share with us?
MN: In Odense there were two beautiful and decisive courses which were very nice to play. For the (unfortunately very few) spectators, the tournament in that impressive hall and the high level of play on the felt courses by the Swedes, was very nice to watch. Also we have learned some things from that.
HB: And what are your feelings about the upcoming Championship in Predazzo? It seems by the nomination that this will be “a walk in the park” for the German Teams this Year.
MN: Of course you can’t compare Odense with Predazzo for us. We are in a far better position this year. Though we will not make the mistake to underestimate our competitors. So I wouldn’t call it “a walk in the park“.
HB: Can you mention any favorites as you see it for the individual medals in Predazzo?
MN: Due to the KO-system it is no longer possible to mention any specific players as favorites. As we have seen in the past years, anything can – and will – happen. Still I hope that some of our players can compete fort he medals in the individual competition. In Predazzo we also have to consider the Italian players, since they have the advantage of playing on courses they know well.
HB: Tell us about the nominations this year in Germany. Was it tough decision or was it pretty clear?
MN: Especially the nominations fort he women’s team was difficult, since we had not less than six very skilled players this year to choose from. But of course it is never easy to nominate the men’s team either.
HB: Who was closest to be included in the squad but was left at home (men and lady)?
MN: Men: Sascha Spreier, Ladies: Alice Kobisch, Nicole Warnecke
HB: Do you have any comments on the Austrian nomination controversy story?
MN: No, that is really not my business.
HB: Will you stay as Head Coach for the home Championships in Bad Munder in 2013?
MN: I always plan year by year. The job as Bundestrainer is an interesting mission with much responsibility, which gives me a lot of joy. However it is not easy to combine with family life and job.
HB: Is it true that there is a dream amongst some German players to do the only thing that haven’t been done by a German Team, to beat a Swedish Team on Felt/Eternit in a Championship?
MN: Well I wouldn’t know about what all our players dream about :) , but of course it is a goal to win a championship title on felt/eternit. This title is only missing fort he men’s team, the women and junior teams have already accomplished it. Of course we still suffer a lack of tournament experience at the long felt courses but we will continuously try to improve.
HB: What players (one man and one lady) not German would you most of all like to have in the German Team?
MN: Karin Wiklund is a great player which would suit to any team. Among the men I see Csaba Palinkas as a very strong player and at the same time very sympathic.
HB: The Erlbruch brothers have been part of top international Minigolf for more than 20 years now. For how long do you think they will play on this level?
MN: To play that long at the highest level deserves the greatest respect. In a minigolf historical perspective this is something like one of a kind which probably will not be seen in the future. I think, as long as they have fun doing what they do, they will also find the motivation to continue. Physically they are at the top and I think they can keep on playing at their high level for some years still.
HB: Who do you think will be the next young German player to break through internationally?
MN: We have some very talented young players who also have reached great success at the youth championships. Still it is not easy to go direct from the youth category and take place in the general class teams. In Predazzo, Marcel Noack is our youngest player, playing his first EC in the general class. His international experience so far comes mainly from taking part in the European and the Nations Cup.
Also Sascha Spreier, Oleg Klassen, Max Herrmann and Gerrit Britz have the chance to join the team next year.
HB: Again thanks for participating a good luck with the team in Predazzo.
MN: Thank you.