For a long time, the “Reds” had to shiver to stay awake. Only 11 points in the last seven matches have allowed Lower Saxony to breathe a sigh of relief. Now the sports director can rebuild the professional team according to his ideas – and it will have to be measured by them. At the heart of the plans is Stefan Little, the new coach. You have to finally move forward with him.
Mann, how much fun has your time at Hannover 96 brought you so far?
Marcus Mann: Of course, as in any job, not every day is equally enjoyable. But in general I can say that I really like to be here. I did not regret the decision for one day. Even if the year was very steep and partly marked by setbacks. He was very helpful, I think I got to know the club quite well and know how it moves that and the environment. I remain convinced that the club has great potential. If we direct this in the right direction, orgasm can arise here as well.
In the Internet forums around Hannover 96 you can already read a feeling of euphoria. And you made sure of this mainly because you did your homework on the newcomers relatively early. Will 96 play a completely different role in the new season?
man: We are pleased that this is being received relatively favorably in the environment. However, of course, we have to classify them correctly. It’s not a very big revolution, but nine or ten people have left more than other clubs. Then there’s the new coaching staff.
We can’t assume we’ll be playing everything on Earth from day one. It will be a development process that will take some time again. Orgasm is not appropriate at this point. But of course we are happy to take the positive mood with us. We’re happy with the new additions so far, but we’re not quite done yet. Thanks to the commitment of coach Stephen Little, we managed to achieve a good result.
What kind of coach changes into a Maschsee, what kind of guy is Stephen Little?
man: Stefan is relatively open. He likes to involve players in his deliberations. But he also has a clear idea of how he wants to play – and he can pass that on to the team very well. I suppose we’ll be playing very actively. We want to be active with and against the ball. To stress the opposition when we have the ball and we want to get the ball back as quickly as possible so we can have more possession than before. This helps us create more chances to score and also makes it easier for our attackers to score more goals.
Stefan knows where he wants to go. And he was always able to implement this in his teams. He will do the same for us. Even if it doesn’t happen overnight.
Remarkably, the players who have already been confirmed as newcomers come from clubs that have had better times than Hannover recently. And players don’t just have development potential because of their age. Why did they choose 96? Are Hannover an ambitious second-tier side, perhaps ready for promotion next season?
man: The fact that a club like Hannover 96 is always ambitious is probably in the nature of things. But we know we have to take one step at a time. The past few years have been less successful and she hasn’t gotten into this position in three months. That’s why we won’t be out in three months. This will be a longer road. However, we have a clear plan on how to achieve this. Even if it isn’t always easy to bring them to Hanover, single players can get to know our way.
It was also part of our plan to make the team younger. Last year we had a relatively high life expectancy. If you want to build something, you have to think two or three years in advance. And the players are now an age, so, in a year, two or three years, they will still be a good age for footballers. Everyone’s goal is to move forward with the club.
Where do you still see a need to catch up?
man: It’s no secret that we haven’t signed a player on the left side yet. Although this could change in the near future. At left-back we had two exits at Hult and Ochs. This is the main focus. In addition, we would like to do something in the attack zone. We see the search for an attacker in a more relaxed manner than it can be done from the outside.
With Schalke and Werder, there are no longer two big fish in the new season. Is the second division more attractive to Hannover 96 because you can keep looking?
man: The matches in Schalke 04 and Bremen were beautiful and not unusual for the second division. However, there are still many traditional clubs and ambitious clubs that, in my opinion, do not become less interesting. In terms of breadth, there are equally many teams. Eight, ten or twelve teams don’t give each other much. There are also a lot of 50:50 games in the new year. In the past we simply lost too often.
“We have to accept the virtues of the second order better, because we have the shortcomings of the last year or we haven’t been able to keep up. I think we have analyzed them correctly. We know the levers to use.”
But many teams have a year or two ahead of us in terms of development. For example, Nuremberg, who now wants to take the next step after a very stable season. In addition to Heidenheim, Darmstadt, St. Pauli and Fortuna Dusseldorf. HSV is my favourite, but they definitely don’t have an easy stand after losing a touchdown.
When could Hannover have played such a good season?
man: If you look at the past three years, you should always look at the last third. And you had to look back instead of looking forward. In our view, it is realistic to say that we want to reach the single digits of the table next year. Especially the way we play will be important. We’ve seen: Maxi-Pierre is well received by the crowd because he plays in a refreshing way and because he wants to win back the ball he lost. He didn’t do everything right either. However, I have noticed how young players are forgiven for making mistakes simply because they act differently.
We want to have a team on the pitch that you can tell you liked playing Hannover 96. The players love playing here. Then the results will inevitably come with time. If you have a team that identifies with the club and always pushes its limits, we will have the quality of football to get results in the long run. We won’t resist if things go faster. But the reasonable structure makes sense.
And what does Martin Kind say about the goal of a “one-digit place on the chart”?
man: Of course, Martin Kind knows more about the Bundesliga than the second tier since his time. That is why he – like all of us – would like to return to the Bundesliga. But we all agree that the path has to be realistic and that you have to take it step by step. It is definitely there. The goal is to come back, but that doesn’t have to be next year, it’s planned for two or three years. However, in Round 32, we are not going to tell any player that we have to lose in order not to be promoted.
Recently there have been some figures in the media, according to which the budget should almost double. I put that into perspective and said, “We’re not Croesus.” What is correct?
man: Yes, a lot of characters have been making the rounds in the past few weeks. You can’t always refuse and put everything in order. The numbers circulated refer to the total budget. When it comes to a gaming budget, we’re planning about the same year. And that’s the case too, you don’t have to complain about it at all, it’s totally fine.
We won’t add much here and we won’t sign seven more players in the Bundesliga. We will make a good team for the second division. I’m relatively sure of that. However, we will continue to do business wisely.
Does the team have to make advance payments to “bring the fans back” or is the euphoria over expectations enough?
man: It’s better when it comes from both sides. Of course, it’s good for us right from the start when the spectators are there to win matches. On the other hand, we of course know that the results and the way the team performs play a big part in determining if at the end of the week anyone has the feeling of having to go to the field or else I am missing something.
We already had very good support at the end of the season. And we’ll try to get people involved with us early in the setup phase. We will have two games here with smaller clubs. And we’ll play a game or two at home in Ellenried, the opening game of the season. We’re trying to get a little closer to the crowd again.
Interviewed by Fabian Wittke, NDR مراسل reporter