Two points in Olaf Ton’s life are enough to justify his commitment next week: 1990 World Champion, 1997 European Cup winner. The latter as captain of the legendary Eurofighters at Schalke 04. Next week, now 55-year-olds will be part of ARD morning magazine As an expert, which will broadcast live from Veitshöchheim. Since the United Kingdom left the European Union, its geographical center has been in the suburb of Würzburg, more precisely in the region of Gadheim. In the interview, the Gelsenkirchen native talked about the national team, the relegation of his club and the future of football.
Mr. Thun, as a former Liberian player, would you have managed to block Lucas Hernandez’s cross or would you have looked as unhappy as Mats Hummels?
Olaf Thun: In a situation like this, taller players are having a little harder time than me. This mostly happened with my head, so you just have to ask Andreas Koepk or Jens Lehmann. Hummels’ work was bitter, of course. If you want to hit the ball this way, you can’t do it. But things like that happen. Franz Beckenbauer had five or more goals in his career and he was the Kaiser.
Especially since it would only be half the story to attribute the defeat to France for this goal.
Thon: shout out. The attackers did not happen, in the midfield Ilkay Gundogan and Toni Kroos pulled too far and never played the decisive passes. That was not enough.
Was France too strong?
Thon: Hernandez, Pogba, Griezmann or Mbappe?? These are the individual players who have achieved much more than the global players. The French, along with the Italians, are the biggest favorites to win the title in my opinion.
The next opponent is Portugal. How will former coach Olaf Thun react to Ronaldo and his partners?
Thon: I was just a little boss. Basically I see Timo Werner more than Leroy Sané. I would also like to bring Emre Can, it brings a certain spirit. Even if that’s not his preferred position, on the right side at the back of the five. But actually everyone can play there. It was said: I put someone there who could walk up and down the line.
So Joshua Kimmich belongs to you in midfield.
Thon: Yeah. Already as a sign after the match against France. The players spoke better and better than it already was. The French played with the handbrake. Kimmich is more valuable at headquarters, whether with Kroos or Gündogan.
As a coach, your career has stayed with one stop, VfB Hüls in the NRW League. Instead, as a TV expert and columnist…
Thon: (calls between) Over 20 years already!
…On the road. Is working in front of the camera more fun?
Thon: You have to make a decision at some point. I got my coaching license in 2004 with Jürgen Klopp, but then I dealt with other things and didn’t go down the coach’s path right away. She failed to do so and instead focused on the economy.
You were a member of the Supervisory Board of FC Schalke 04 from 2005 to 2008, then in the club’s marketing department and you are now the official club representative on the traditional team. Have you already internalized your relegation to the second degree?
Thon: It’s almost July, so it’s about to start all over again. We have addressed the relegation process, are working on the formation of the new team and have appointed a new sporting director at Rauven Schroeder. We all have to work together to make Schalke 04 successful again. It will be a tough season.
Schalke has a notable competition in the second division with HSV and Werder Bremen. Does that make going down more likely?
Thon: Shared suffering is half suffering, could you say? But this is not true. That sounds nice on paper, but Schalke is first class. I hope we can get a heartbeat up. I know it’s going to be tough and it could end completely differently. HSV is not succeeding, clubs like 1. FC Kaiserslautern are close to the fourth tier.
If you’ve dealt with the second division early on, you’ve surely watched one game or the other of the Würzburger Kickers.
Thon: Naturally. You don’t know the players as well as in the Bundesliga, but you have to prepare and know what to expect.
There will be no duel with the kickers after they are relegated to the third division.
Thon: I saw that too. There were already many tough decisions that could have been taken differently. There was a lot of judging involved in this landing. But they say it always balances out. Maybe next year.
As a Schalke 04 player, there is initially no sporting reason to come to Würzburg. You’ll be in the region next week: as an expert on the morning ARD magazine, which broadcasts from the center of the European Union in Veitshöchheim. No host country in this EM? Nothing is lost there?
Thon: I find the idea of then UEFA President Michel Platini to play in eleven countries very exciting. Whether there is Baku (Azerbaijan’s capital and one of the places, editor’s note) There must be an open question. But I find the attempt exciting. But this must be kept for once.
The upcoming World Cup in Qatar in the winter can also be described as “interesting”.
Thon: That would be something very special again. Hot story. But football changes, and the viewers change. The question arises whether you can keep up with it. The Premier League is also such a topic. I mean, we can’t escape from it.
However, can you understand the criticism of the fans who say that football is far from them?
Thon: Absolutely. Getting into the stadium is getting more complicated. In the end, all you want is to watch a football match. You have to stay close to the pulse of the masses. Conditions like America, where a club moves from one country to another, should never exist here.
Return to the national team: After this tournament, Hansi Flick will take over as coach. Is it correct?
Thon: There were definitely other candidates. I’m thinking of Stefan Koontz, who has now won the title with the Under-21s. But I trust Hansi Flick will make a difference. After we became world champions, we were disappointed. The national coach resigned two or three years later. Given his merit, it is understandable that the decision was left to him. Now he is just pulling the rip rope.
So Flick is the right man for the job?
Thon: He knows the German Football Association, but will not yet dance to the whistle of Oliver Bierhoff, but is trying his own ideas. I think his life dream has come true. I wish him all the best. But it won’t be easy. But it couldn’t get any worse, less elimination in the preliminary round is not possible.
Is this your expectations for the national team in this European championship?
Thon: No. Shall we go further?? It is doubtful whether it was the second or third. We drew with Portugal and beat Hungary. And then you have to fight your way to the championship, just like under Bertie Vogts in 1996. Form beats class! And starting in the round of 16, anything is possible anyway.