As simple blog journalists, it is not often that myself and my colleagues get to actually interact with the team we love so much that we write on the internet about it. Every once in a while, however, a cool opportunity comes along that gives us some face-to-face interaction with BVB. In this second installment of exciting interviews, I will be recounting an hour spent with some BVB legends.
Fear the Wall had the privilege of joining a crew of other journalists on Zoom to have a chat with former BVB stars Karl-Heinz Riedle and Ewerthon. The interview was organized by the Bundesliga media team and gave journalists both at the BVB training ground and online the chance to ask the players about their club careers, their best international memories, and some of their thoughts on the current status and form of the squad.
Questions and answers are paraphrased for fluidity and understanding.
Question: What are your thoughts on Germany’s current production of #9s? Are there any players who would be your modern equivalent, and where do you see the next German #9 coming from?
Karl-Heinz Riedle: In my time we had players like Rudi Völler and Miroslav Klose, so it is hard to say. These days maybe the game has changed a little bit, in the moment I don’t really see a proper #9 coming up in the academies or even in the Bundesliga. So it may be a long time before we see a proper German #9 again.
Question: In Bayern Munich, Jamal Musiala is one of the best talents Germany is developing. What is your opinion about him? Is he ready to be a focal point for the German National team?
Karl-Heinz Riedle: Well it’s a pity he’s not playing for Borussia Dortmund! He is a fantastic player and has had an incredible start to the season. Germany can be proud to have a talent like him. His skills are incredible even on the big stage and I expect him to play a big part in the upcoming World Cup. He made an incredible impact with Bayern Munich.
Question: Why are there not more Brazilian players in the Bundesliga? What are the barriers for Brazilians to play in Germany?
Ewerthon: Well German football changes a lot. Often times Brazilian players do not fit well in the systems Bundesliga teams are deploying. It is also challenging to work with translators, understand your teammates, and adapt to the very different life in Germany.
Question: Ewerthon discussed the challenges for Brazilian players in the Bundesliga. As a striker, what do you think went wrong with Reinier?
Karl-Heinz Riedle: He was definitely talented. It was difficult for him to get there in the team because we had a really fantastic setup. The other guys at the time, like Erling Haaland, were really good so it was not easy for him. But you can see that he is talented, and I think he will find his way with another team.
Question: On top of being legends for BVB, you both represented historical footballing nations in Germany and Brazil. How do you rate your nations’ chances at the upcoming World Cup?
Karl-Heinz Riedle: You never know what you’re going to get with Germany. The team has a very nice mix of young and experienced players. We could make it to the final or go out early, it’s hard to say. I think with such a mix of talented players Germany will do very well. For Ewerthon’s Brazil, I hope we will see each other very early as they are two great teams.
Ewerthon: The Brazil national team is really qualified, the squad certainly does not depend just on Neymar or any one player, it is a very well-rounded side. Certainly, Brazil, France, and Argentina have to be the favorites, but Germany is also a great side. In Qatar, the games will be a little different, especially with the temperature, but Brazil should certainly be considered a favorite.
Question: Which players from Borussia Dortmund do you see making waves at the World Cup?
Ewerthon: It is difficult to discuss success at the World Cup, but I hope Marco Reus can show his talents in the competition and remain injury free.
Karl-Heinz Riedle: Marco is definitely desperate to make it to the World Cup. He has been very unlucky in the Euros and the World Cups, so hopefully, it will be the right time for him as he will not have a lot of chances left. I hope for him that this will be his World Cup.
Question (From Me!): Karl-Heinz, you and Stefan Chaupisat formed a tremendous strike partnership at BVB; who in your career was your favorite striker partner, and who from today’s game would you like to have played with?
Karl-Heinz Riedle: Stefan Chaupisat just worked really well with my style of play, but I was really fortunate to play up front in the national team with Rudi Voller and Jurgi Klinsmann. In Lazio with Ruben Sosa and Bepi Signori, two incredible left-footed guys. Then in Liverpool with Robbie Fowler and Mike Lowe. I had some amazing partners out there and I am really happy I did. In today's game, it would be a pleasure to play alongside Haaland. He is such an incredible player, unfortunately, he left us and you could see against Manchester City how it hurt us that he moved on from our club, but to play alongside him would be an incredible feeling.
Question: Why are the values of Dortmund as a club so important? How did it affect the player that you were and the person you are now?
Karl-Heinz: If you have spent even a day in the stadium you can see the passion and the intensity of this club. there is such an incredible relationship between the players in the fans and you don't see this everywhere. I played in some top teams, even at Liverpool, but nothing compares to the energy at Borussia Dortmund.
Ewerthon: Playing for Dortmund helped me in my personal life to always have an appreciation for the special moments, to appreciate what I have, and the values of the German people are something I brought home with me to Brazil.
Question: Karl-Heinz, what was life like in Dortmund after scoring the goals to win the Champions League?
Karl-Heinz Riedle: Of course, it was an incredible feeling for all of the team and for the history of the club, but it didn't change too much in my private life. We had won the World Cup with Germany and some titles with Borussia Dortmund in the years prior, but it was a very special title for Borussia Dortmund and is still now counting a lot for the club’s legacy.
Question: Ewethon, you played in Qatar. What is your memory of the football in the country and what do you expect for the World Cup?
Ewerthon: Qatar is complicated with the language, the climate, and the religion. The culture is very closed. I was not able to keep a social life there as I was in Brazil. This World Cup is a mystery. With the life there, it is hard to say how the experience of the World Cup will be.
Question (From Me): For both players, as you both know, life does not end when your footballing career does. What are your proudest accomplishments since retiring from the sport?
Ewerthon: Just relaxing! It takes a lot of time and energy to be a footballer, and there is a lot of pressure always from the crowd. I am now spending more time with his family and with my 10-year-old son.
Karl-Heinz Riedle: Definitely the same from me. Football is something great, but the greatest achievement after football is to grow a family. I already have two grandsons, and this is a part of my life after football that makes me very proud.
Having the chance to listen to these two BVB legends recount their time as footballers was really an amazing experience. Both Ewerthon and Karl-Heinz embody the core values of BVB, and their connection to the club remains strong even after their playing careers have ended. Both players remain committed fans, as well as up-to-date on the team and its matches and form. It is so exciting to see that Echte Liebe stays with our BVB veterans even after their time in the spotlight has ended.
Thank you to the folks from SB Nation and APCO Worldwide for this great opportunity!
Leave your thoughts down below on the following!
- Should Dortmund look back into the Brazilian market after a long spell without a Brazilian star?
- What are your expectations for Germany and its players in the Qatar World Cup?
- What other BVB legends would you like to hear from? (Not that we have any say, but let us know!)