Olaf Thon in an interview: To see so many men howl

Mr. Thon, you have transformed two particularly important penalty: in the DFB dress in the 1990 World Cup in 1990 against England and with Schalke in the final second leg in 1997 at Inter. Are the two situations to be compared?

That was a big difference. In the semi -finals I was the penultimate shooter, with a mistake it would have been pari again. And the starting situation was different: I had to run to Franz Beckenbauer to be able to shoot at all! I knew that others would be preferred in the final. I had to shoot the penalty to maintain the chances of a mission. It was different in 1997. I was captain, I had to shoot. But not the first, that was Ingo Anderbrügge, who then gave us “green light”.

Anderbrügge converted into manner typical of him…

He made him so great. With the inner tension, the ball still fidgets in the triangle today. And Pagliuca looks after, even though he was in the right corner. He had no chance. I think the Milanese were intimidated even though they shot on their fan curve.

Jens Lehmann then held the penalty of Ivan Zamorano, transformed. Did you know that after that with Martin Max and Marc Wilmots there were two players who had scored a total of three penalty in their entire career?

No, I didn’t know that (laughs). But they weren’t inexperienced. There are specialists, like in my time in the eighties Jochen Abel. With us it was Ingo and I, but you need at least five at the penalty shootout. But I had confidence in Martin Max, he was our scorer. It was similar with Marc Wilmots: he had self -confidence and was equipped with good technology. However, I was not aware that they shot so few penalty.

Wilmots had turned a penalty, shot 1. In Milan he sank the decisive attempt. In the Schalke fans special issue for the Schalke triumph, they said that their first goal after the title was to get the player women on the pitch.

After the game, I was busy for half an hour to somehow organize it. The Italians were very bored, disappointed and bad losers. But it worked, the other players like the injured Youri Mulder were then below. Then we all celebrated together.

Wilmots described the crossbar from Inters Maurizio entirely in the extension as the “magical moment”. Then he knew that Schalke would get the pot. Which was your?

That was certainly such a situation. We were always lucky on our side – nobody is lucky, you can also force it. But the penalty of Ingo was all decisive. That was the door opener, I thought: Now nothing can happen to us than the first 911 was shot. I was sure: the Jens stops one more, that was a penalty killer. Jens in the goal and Ingo as a shooter, that gave us so much strength. For us, it was a child’s play afterwards.

The title was also thanks to her special interpretation of the Libero role.

I played before the defense or at the same height, actually more of a six-person position. Hanging back a tick in today’s comparison. I was able to intercept balls, initiate. That also developed with Andreas Müller, Jiri Nemec, Marc Wilmots. We played pressing where we played man against man, so that I was in the six position and the positions before, so to speak, “one was passed through” to make pressing at the front. At the back I was able to rely on my defenders.

Is there still a role like this?

Makoto Hasebe played it similarly at Frankfurt, with our current team since the takeover of Mike Büskens in a similar way. At that time, Huub Stevens also gave me a free hand to interpret my way of playing. He gave me the freedom to put the teammates accordingly in such a way that it fits.

Keyword Huub Stevens: After the last penalty of Milan, the coach noted on a note on how Wilmots had shot the penalty before he began to cheer himself. Was that a typical gesture for him?

First order and then cheers. For us yes, that was nothing atypical. Even if he operated on with his laptop. His assistant coach Hubert Neu, a teacher, was also very meticulously. But these are also human habits. So it was normal for us.

There was a huge reception in Gelsenkirchen, the team celebrated a week according to Wilmots. Jens Lehmann fell from a table, Andreas Müller gave an interview in which he only “only”. What got stuck with you?

Certainly entering the city’s Golden Book, of course, as I held up the UEFA Cup with one hand. And to see the grandstand with 20,000 Schalke fans. Many men, but also women who cried with joy. Seeing so many men howling was really breathtaking. When I think back to this whole wall of fans, with the trophy in my hand, the goosebumps come to light again.

One of the Eurofighter has just caused a sensation again. Mike Büskens made the climb with Schalke. Was he very tense before the determination?

No, actually he became quieter: on the bench, in his instructions. But it was observed how he took Schalke with him. He has changed where Dimitrios Grammozis might be too narrow -minded with his triple chain. Mike has changed that partially, sometimes played with the chain of four and ItaCura on the six. That pulled.

Büskens will no longer be on the sidelines in the Bundesliga as head coach.

That was clear from the start. That was the foresight of Peter Knäbel, Mike Büskens analogous to Bayern as a co -trainer at Bayern and thus having a plan B – and it worked. No matter who is the head coach: Mike is a permanent constant in the coaching team.

The negative headlines around Clemens Tönnies, the controversial Gazprom sponsoring – Schalke was even criticized by their own fans for his club policy. Does a new era be on?

Schalke will have to reinvent himself, even in the near future. With our new sponsor “Vivawest” we now have a regional partner, which also gives synergy effects of positive way that you will find each other again in the region with new sponsors that help Schalke 04. Of course not in total as before, but you can compensate for that again with sympathy values. The climb can be positively fuel the whole.

Even the referee cheered me on in the game.

Thon over the 6: 6 against FC Bayern

Your personal climb began with the legendary 6: 6 in the cup semi-final against Bavaria 1984. You shot, just 18 years old, three goals. This was followed by the legendary interview with Rolf Töpperwien, in which they had almost been fallen over by the fans.

The Töpperwien was of course very well prepared. He knew that I was Bayern fan and that I slept in their bed linen. But I haven’t had it for five years. But he tickled it out of me, as if I had slept in it the night before. Not bad afterwards: I still had to listen to a lot from Schalke fans, but they forgiven me. Even the referee cheered me on in the game.

The referee?

I was at 5: 6 on the middle circle and Wolf-Günter Wiesel said shortly before the game was closed: ‘Come on Olaf, another attack’. Unimaginable these days. I then made the 6: 6 with a volley shot after a rebound. Jean-Marie Pfaff had no chance.

_ “Guys, rest – interview!” See them here, as Töpperwien desperately desperate in 1984 to Schalke fans

They had scored the second goal with their heads. Töpperwien praised her header with just 1.60 meters. Despite the chaotic situation, they still had the coolness to improve it.

I’m bigger than Maradona. I am 1.70 meters, so I placed great value on it. This was rounded off this interview – with the fans, the bodyguards, the police officer in full gear. This is legendary and is always clicked on YouTube. I would usually have to get royalties.

Assauer and Kuzorra – these are the light figures on Schalke.

Olaf Thon

In the interview, they also said that Rudi Assauer was something like her discoverer.

Actually, you didn’t have to discover me. I was so good that a one -eyed one would have recognized. But he always gave me backing. I still remember a story of the Bayern game. I was 18 years old back then and a day old. The problem was: How do I celebrate my 18th birthday? I had invited over 100 people to celebrate for a party. I had to go to Assauer a few weeks earlier. He took a few trains out of his cigar and said: ‘Olaf, you celebrate in and I will come from 7 p.m. and tap for your guests until you have a birthday.’ That might have been ‘normal’, but: April 30th was his own birthday. So he sacrificed his birthday for mine. He tapped until well into my birthday. “

Before the home game against St. Pauli, almost all Eurofighers met again and were honored before the game. Right now at the anniversary: Are you still often in my thoughts at the long -time manager?

Yes, especially in the planning. Even when you are in the stadium, you think that thanks to Rudi Assauer, this was always remembered. Rudi Assauer and Ernst Kuzorra, for me these are the light figures from Schalke.

Lots of Eurofighter: Wilmots, self -smoke & Co. before the home game against St. Pauli. Imago/Pakusch

The contact between the Eurofighers is still active, they also have a common WhatsApp group.

There are even “Eurofighter and friends”, such as Kevin Kuranyi, Gerald Asamoah and Klaus Fischer. I opened it in the course of the 20th anniversary. Many Eurofighers didn’t want to wait five years until the next reunion. This time again: after the meeting is before the meeting.

You missed the great reunion in the arena because of a Corona infection, even though you were far from involved in the organization.

Yes, but I was in my mind, the work was done beforehand. The table was covered, the team only had to implement it against St. Pauli. That it was so Hitchcock with 3: 2 after 0: 2 – that’s football. I enjoyed it at home as if I had been there.

_Im Schalke fans special issue “Types and Triumph” from 2017 you will learn everything about the birth of the Eurofighter. On more than 108 pages you will find exclusive interviews with Marc Wilmots, Huub Stevens, Jiri Nemec, Martin Max and Tomasz Waldoch.

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