NSr was constantly moving and setting standards constantly. He rowed his arms forward and backward, making unmistakable references to those moments when collective efforts in the direction of attack or defense were necessary. In between, the man in the gray wool shirt raised his arms to applaud as his players did something worth watching.
In other words: Stefan Kuntz, the new coach of the Turkish national football team, was as committed and positive at all times on Friday evening, as he was before in his successful years as coach of the German under-21 national team, when it came to supporting his players in. Every case to support. The fact that his premiere at Istanbul’s Fenerbahce Stadium on Friday night was only halfway successful had more to do with the fact that 58-year-old Sarlander has taken on a difficult, if attractive, legacy, succeeding teammate Senol Gunes.
At the moment, it was enough in Group G World Cup qualifiers only to 1:1 for third place in the table against second Norway after goals by Akturkoglu (6th minute) and Torsvedt (41). Too little to cheer up the prospects of reaching the finals in Qatar in 2022, but still enough to keep hoping for your chance in the subsequent matches that still have to be played in three games.
Notorious optimist Koontz, who also won two European Championship titles (2017, 2021) and runner-up (2019) with Germany’s U-21 team due to his sympathetic and passionate nature, is now at games in Latvia on Monday (8.45 pm) as well as in November against Gibraltar and Montenegro are under pressure to win. The question your new coach will also ask is whether his brave and courageous team over long spells at Sükrü Saracoglu will make a quantum leap towards more self-confidence by then.
The fact that in the first match after the previous humiliating 1:6 defeat in the first group by the Netherlands, despite the change of coach, something like optimism was visible only in rare items, for example when the stormy goal-maker Cengiz Under lived his aggression, was after the acclaimed summer A win-free preliminary round – understood from the European Championship finals and a blow to the neck in Amsterdam.
Kuntz also nibbled a bit on the sub-optimal initial yield. “We would have liked to give our Turkish fans a win to allow the Hope plant to grow a little faster – it’s still a bit small now,” he said after his debut between new beginnings and old burdens. Turkey’s lightning start with an early opening goal was not enough to spark an initial spark. For this reason, Koontz’s pros often hurriedly lined up in front of the Scandinavian goal and defended their goal very nervously and indecisively.
The result of the still precarious balance, which the German coach and his assistant coaches Kenan Kocak and Jan Moritz Licht, who have been assigned to Germany, have to quickly correct.
“There is still a lack of self-confidence in the team,” Koontz said. Hamit Altintop, a longtime Bundesliga player at Schalke 04 and Bayern Munich, convinced him to make a three-year commitment as sporting director of the Turkish Football Federation’s board of directors. Immediately he had to contend with a missed opportunity against an unmotivated Norwegian side without the violent power of injured Dortmund striker Erling Haaland.
Lots of pity and fire
The Turkish expert Kontz, in the 1995/1996 season, signed with Besiktas Istanbul, along with a modest match with himself. Some of the 23,917 fans immediately whistled for initial income after the meeting with the new coach ended. And at the press conference that followed, a local journalist insistently asked which part Koontz attributes to this unsatisfactory 1:1.
The 58-year-old, who wished to become “more German-Turkish and more German-Turkish,” did not allow himself to be deprived of his basic friendship. In his workplace now, unlike in Germany, where he made a name for himself as a development worker for the young professional generation, he would have to reckon with the emotionally stimulating climate between blazing enthusiasm and rapidly mounting anger at every turn. Major newspapers such as Hürriyet (“We missed a great opportunity”) and Fanatik (“The German vaccine didn’t work”) immediately reminded Koontz that he must be prepared for moments of change in Istanbul.
In the next three years, he would like to enjoy the excitement of being able to succeed abroad. He was also seen by his fellow Germans Otto Rehhagel (2004 European champion with Greece), Jürgen Klinsmann (failed in the 2014 World Cup with the United States in the second round) or Ottmar Hitzfeld (with Switzerland in the 2010 and 2014 World Cup finals). And so Koontz promised the eager and arrogant fans of Milli Takim: “We will find our own Turkish style.” Due to the lack of reliable facts, he did not say how long this could last.
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