While visiting Home of FIFA as part of a delegation from leading German club Werder Bremen, former Germany international Klaus Allofs, now general manager at the north German club, stopped for a chat with FIFA.com. Allofs was a member of the German team that won the 1980 UEFA European Championship and finished runners-up at the 1986 FIFA World Cup Mexico™.
FIFA.com: Klaus, what brings you here today?
Klaus Allofs: We’ve been in Zurich today visiting Infront to discuss Werder Bremen’s marketing strategy for the next few years. Naturally, we’re delighted we’ve been able to make this pleasant detour.
The draw for this season’s UEFA Champions League group stage takes place on Thursday. How far can Werder Bremen go in the competition?
We’re obviously hoping to make the Round of 16. We’ve made it to the last sixteen twice so far, and we reckon the additional experience we’ve picked up over the years means we should be in with a decent chance. We’ve strengthened our squad this year, and we’ve just brought in Claudio Pizarro from Chelsea as well. I hope that’ll give us the decisive edge.
You have started the domestic league season with draws in both your opening fixtures. What could you achieve in the Bundesliga this term?
Our goal has to be winning the league. We’re well aware of our rivals’ strength, and Bayern Munich are overwhelming favourites. But the Bundesliga has turned into a very strong league, very evenly-matched but with powerful teams at the top. Obviously, a target for us is qualifying directly for the Champions League once again, which means we have to finish first or second in the Bundesliga.
Diego earned plaudits at the Olympic Football Tournament Beijing 2008 and has come home with a bronze medal. Do you think that will motivate him when he plays for Bremen?
Definitely. After the various rulings, we decided to let him stay at the Olympics, because we recognised how close it was to his heart. Maybe we didn't appreciate that at first, because from a German point of view, we’ve not contested the Olympic Football Tournament for a very long time. . We don’t think he’ll need very long before knuckling down again. The fact that Werder Bremen made it possible for him to appear at the tournament means he’s keen to give something back.
As a former Germany striker, what do you feel about the apparent problems in the German forward line at the moment? Mario Gomez, Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski are not necessarily on top form.
We have a number of very good strikers, including the ones you’ve mentioned. But you’ve also got Patrick Helmes waiting in the wings, or the likes of Stefan Kiessling. There’s no reason for us to worry. Personally, I was astounded that Mario Gomez was unable to translate an excellent season in the Bundesliga into a good EURO, but over the long term, he’s a player who’s likely to feature strongly in the national set-up. I find it hard to understand what’s happening with Miro [Klose]. He played really well for us, and it’s impossible to explain why it’s not working out at the present time. In terms of ability he has everything.
It’s hard for me to comment, because we’ve already tried twice [to sign him]. I can understand Bayern not wanting to let him go, because he’s a very, very good player. But it’s no secret that he needs games at this stage of his career. It’s going well in the national team, but it would obviously be better if he was a regular for his club.
Who would you describe as your favourite striker?
Thierry Henry is what you’d imagine the perfect striker would be like. He’s quick and has a nose for goal. He’s pretty close to what you’d call the ideal striker.
Looking at Diego now, he’s unbelievably motivated and in great physical shape. It should give him a real additional boost