Every day over 2.5 million followers across the globe are kept up to date with the latest from the world of football via the official @FIFAcom twitter accounts. Whether in English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, French or Arabic, the tweets keep fans informed of the news on the official website of world football’s governing body.
In the build-up to the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie between Arsenal and Bayern Munich on Tuesday evening, FIFA.com offered users a special opportunity: the chance to ask questions to former Germany goalkeeper Jens Lehmann, who made almost 150 appearances for Arsenal between 2003 and 2008.
On Monday, Lehmann temporarily took over the English and German Twitter feeds and fielded countless questions from fans the world over.
For example, @africanplato wanted to know how far Arsenal can go in the Champions League this season. “FC Bayern are a huge challenge, as they’re a very strong team. If Arsenal can beat them, they can definitely reach the semi-finals,” replied Lehmann. The 61-time international told @bergemannw he had no favourite to go through “although Bayern have done better in the competition recently”.
The 43-year-old only has fond memories of his time in England, but especially of one season in particular. “The most historically significant title was in 2004 because we didn’t lose a game,” he revealed to @tandeaaann.
However, the former custodian’s favourite game was the 1997 UEFA Cup final with Schalke, because “we were the rank outsiders against Inter Milan”. Lehmann saved a penalty during the shoot-out to help win the title.
There was also plenty of interest in Lehmann’s international exploits with Germany and his actions during the penalty shoot-out in the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ quarter-final against Argentina have not been forgotten.
@petrick_hc was curious about the reasons behind him repeatedly consulting a piece of paper before each spot-kick was taken. “Because I got older and couldn’t remember it all as well as I could back in 1997, when we won the UEFA Cup with Schalke,” was the tongue-in-cheek response.
His relationship with goalkeeping rival Oliver Kahn was another hot topic during the Twitter interview. Lehmann, who won league titles in Italy, Germany and England, confessed to @sivanjohn that things have returned to normal since both retired.
Lehmann told @Blashina that the thing he misses most since hanging up his boots in 2010 is the regular training, while questions about his budding coaching career were met with a mysterious: “I’ll make a decision in the summer.”
You can find further excerpts from the Twitter chat with Jens Lehmann below:
@FCMessi88: Do you think Lionel Messi is the world’s best player? What are the three best club teams and national sides?
Yes, but I’d like to see him play in England. Spain, Germany and Italy. Barcelona, Manchester United and Bayern.
@Blashina: Who is your favourite player?
I think Van Persie’s fantastic. Ronaldo’s good, so are Messi, Iniesta and Lahm. The three that stand out most are Van Persie, Ronaldo and Messi.
@kapdmessi10: Who is the best goalkeeper right now?
You have to be the best when you reach a final. That was Petr Cech last year. Currently I think Neuer and Cech are the best.
@petrick_hc: Is Manuel Neuer better than you? Why?
That’s difficult to say. He’s got plenty of years ahead of him to prove that at any rate.
@ozair7: Who was the best striker you ever played against?
There were so many. The Brazilian Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Rudi Voller, Didier Drogba or Ruud van Nistelrooij.
@agungsugiarto: What do you make of Robin van Persie’s transfer from Arsenal to Manchester United?
It’s a big shame for Arsenal. Given his age, he made a sensible decision that was financially justifiable.
@Etherington_14: With which one of your former clubs are you closest to?
Arsenal, as I’m doing my coaching badges there at the moment.
@GlobalGoone: Would you like to coach Arsenal at some point?
That’s not something I can answer right now, because I've seen the unbelievable amount of time Arsene Wenger invests in it.
@Adebisiadeyink7: Who was your role model when you were a child?
Back then Toni Schumacher was one of the best in the business. He was a goalkeeper I liked a lot.
@chrisdias99: What techniques do you have for saving penalties?
The ability to concentrate, a long reach and good timing when diving.
@SirCoucou: What tips can you give to young players who want to make it as a professional?
Stay in school for a long time. Try to think fast and understand the game quickly, as well as training hard.
@sfw_tweets: How can football make the world a better place?
Football teaches tolerance. That’s something everyone should have.