This news caused a sensation in basketball Germany: Former managing director Wolfgang Heyder returns to Brose Bamberg almost six years after his suspension.
In his new role as young talent coordinator, he is to ensure that former serial masters can rejoin the easycredit BBL.
Interview with SPORT1 the 63-year-old speaks about the reasons for his return, his difficult relationship with supervisory board boss Michael Stoschek and the comparison with FC Bayern Basketball.
SPORT1: What are your reasons for returning to Brose Bamberg?
Wolfgang Heyder: I have to say that with great pain I have watched the development of the youth program from the outside in recent years. Also as the head of the association, I clearly noticed that Bamberg has slipped down from one of the best youth programs. Of the best 24 players in Bavaria, none is from Bamberg in the latest squad list for the Bayern selection. And after this was brought up to me from many different sides again and again, whether I can imagine it, after a few considerations I agreed to do so, which is certainly a very hard task.
SPORT1: Have you already worked out a plan? How do you intend to get more talent back?
Heyder: It is important that you can fall back on a much wider range. I think in the lower area that was done very arbitrarily, there was no concept. It is a central point that we start very early in the children’s area with the U8, U10 and already in the U6 and that we catch a lot of children that we can look after and train. We also have to take the ten clubs in the Bamberg region that offer basketball with them and support them.
Conversely, they must also help us to achieve this breadth. So let’s start at the bottom, we will of course fill an NBBL and a JBBL. But of course the influence is very small, especially since you can hardly recruit at the present time. It will be very important to start strategically with good coaching quality at the bottom.
SPORT1: Do you think you can then lead the players to the professionals?
Heyder: Yes, that’s a long way to develop talent again. Bamberg has to be a place where you want to go again and that’s just not an issue at the moment. Of course, we need appropriate trainer quality, trainers who not only have quality training, but are also highly motivated and bring a lot of emotions. Much has been missed in the past six years. Many of the tools that are available have not been used at all. Since you have developed backwards. You will of course be able to develop talents, such as Bromke and the two carpenter twins. These are again three very interesting Bamberg players from the youth program. But of course there also has to be the willingness of the head coaches to integrate them.
SPORT1: How important is it to you that the talents you train also have strong ties to Bamberg and the club?
Wolfgang Heyder: It is a central point that Bamberg play in the team. I am always very sorry if there is no Bamberg youth player on the team next year. Of course this is unfortunate because next year maybe 12, 13 Bamberg will play in the BBL, but not in Bamberg. It is important to make the bond. Of course we can do that if we build up the players in the long term. That got lost in Bamberg. Of course you have to find your way again, but you can’t do that at the push of a button. I know the way, but of course that means hard work. That doesn’t work now, because Wolfgang Heyder is under it, overnight.
SPORT1: You just mentioned that there are some tools in Bamberg that have not been used in recent years. What is that for example?
Heyder: For example, this is by far the best available sports boarding school. I don’t know any better in Germany. There are a total of 14 places with excellent social care and a hall directly on site, weight room, homework support, school nearby. In my view, it doesn’t get any better than this. But there are no more players integrated that you can develop. If you have players here and take good care of them, it is relatively quickly at a very high level. You have to go two ways now, develop players from Bamberg and also recruit one or the other here. But at the moment it’s all idle.
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SPORT1: What time frame are we talking about until talent can join the professionals again?
Heyder: It will certainly take four to five years from your own offspring. But you will probably be able to recruit other players in the next few years if the situation fits.
SPORT1: At the moment Bamberg is baking smaller rolls in the professional sector, why are you coming to Bamberg right now?
Heyder: With small and large rolls, that’s one thing. Bamberg still has a very large budget. In my view, they are also among the four – five best in the league in terms of budget. I think that this has simply not been optimally implemented in recent years, Michael Stoschek rightly criticized that.
SPORT1: Because you have already mentioned Mr. Stoschek. The separation at the time was not that smooth, did they speak out at the time and how do they deal with each other?
Heyder: Basically, I stand by that at the time I had a completely different opinion on how to lay off a coach (Chris Fleming was fired in 2014 after six successful years, Anm. d. Red.) bypasses. Of course, I have always had contact with Michael Stoschek at various levels in recent years. It’s not that we’ve been bitter enemies for six years. Of course, I also have a different opinion about basketball, about the strategic in one situation or another. It was always important to me to have Bamberg in the team, to have Bamberg in the structure.
But basically I respect A the life achievement of Michael Stoschek as an entrepreneur, B what he did for basketball here in Bamberg and C it is complete nonsense for him to pull the money out of the funding. That is still so well subsidized to this day. You just have to realize that the work was bad. And that’s where I see the claim that you have to be careful with the money you have and get the best out of it.
SPORT1: Are you and Michael Stoschek compliant with the concept of what you now have for the State Performance Center?
Heyder: Yes, Michael Stoschek asked me if I want to do that. In this respect, I assume that he has the same idea. He also wants to get the best out of the available resources. It is not a question at all. And when it comes down to whether a player plays in the professional team, it is always a decision of the coach. You have to work on the topic that they develop and get play time.
SPORT1: How do you see the next few years? Are you maybe always a bit behind Bayern and ALBA or do you already see chances that things will go up again?
Heyder: It is certainly the case that more would have been possible in Bamberg with the available means. The financial gap, especially from Bavaria, is now very, very large. It’s a completely different world, you just have to see it realistically. On the other hand, there is always a big attraction in the underdog situation. You can achieve a lot there. At our first championship, we were seventh in the league in terms of budget and also runner-up in previous years with much less money than others. You can achieve a lot as an underdog, but of course it is not a matter of course with a third or a quarter of the money that Bayern Munich has. Everything has to come together, but the opportunity is always there.