Borussia's special ambassador
Borussia Dortmund is unique in many ways - and often special. Therefore, we have not just one team representing the black and yellow colours away from the bright lights of the Bundesliga, but three. Following our Veterans and Legends teams, this time around we present our Masters team. We got to know the lads and team manager Günter Kutowski.
There is not much to do in Treffurt. But today the BVB is playing in the small timbered town in the Werratal. Castle Normannstein perches high above the pitch. In the stadium of the same name on Gericht Street, the steep grandstands slope steeply, in green grass colour instead of concrete grey. Standing instead of seating. The changing rooms are small. Wooden benches with coat hooks to the right and left. Rough plaster is on the wall. The massage bench is under the roof, the shower in the basement. DFB Cup winner at the grass roots.
The mood is more like a family reunion. Everyone is getting involved in banter, with verbal exchanges flying around with our footballing friends from Thuringia as well. One remarks: "You're getting on a bit now, aren’t you?" The words echo deep into the room. Enough bait for a fan to follow up with: "Well, I would not let myself go so much after my career has finished ..." At some point during the course of these exchanges, Jens Kurrat, who everyone just calls "Hoppy" like his legendary father, replied: "You see guys, 'We are still damned to win.' It is this openness that allows closeness - and this is precious because it has become so rare. A meeting is more than a game.
Inside, they are fondly reminiscing - and cannot for the life of them remember who was wearing the number 13 shirt in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium against Werder Bremen in 1989. After a lengthy search and deliberation, Google was consulted and spits out Bernd Storck as an answer. But it definitely isn’t him. Meanwhile, Reinhold Mathes, a player in the seventies, who now combines physio and mascot duties, massages a few supple muscles.
Ideally in the centre
Jörg Kühl, Franck Patrick Njambe, Sascha Rammel, Steffen Karl, Tim Gutberlet, Michael Lusch, Günter Breitzke, Martin Driller, David Odonkor, Giovanni Federico and Antonio da Silva will all start today. Jens Kurrat, Irfan Uzungelis and Peter Vogt are waiting in the wings as back up. "Too many of them want to play in the centre and enjoy as many touches of the ball as possible," team manager Günter Kutowski knows his men only too well and provides an insight into his game plan: "You cannot play with ten men inside and none on the flanks." The starting eleven can boast more than a thousand professional games between them. They are not ex-professionals now, just men. Men in black and yellow. Men for black and yellow.
"We are all black and yellow, living out their hobby with passion. We want to help grow BVB’s positive image and we are happy to travel around and view ourselves as representatives of the club," explains Kutowski. This is a group of football stars really close up. That goes down very well in Thuringia, where warming up with a smartphone in hand is allowed. There isn’t a shock result today. Although Treffurt shooting club dates all the way back to 1516 and is one of the oldest in Germany, it was mainly the Borussia Dortmund players who scored today. David Odonkor alone found the net five times. Some people found it hard to keep up with the scoreline. 10-2 was the final score with Njambe (2), Federico, Karl and guest player Nils also on the scoresheet.
Kutte’s team are Borussia's best ambassadors. 15 or 16 games are played every year; some games are more or less on the doorstep, in the Sauerland, in the south and especially in the east of Germany. Trips to Kitzbühel and Grömitz have become highlights of the annual calendar. They could easily play 40 matches during the otherwise football-free time in June and July. "Requests for a game keep piling up," says Günter Kutowski, "most of them want to arrange a charity match, which is completely okay and we always gladly accept such invitations - but we cannot travel for two days each time up and down the country. We are not getting any younger."
Have a kick around and "a chit chat"
Borussia Dortmund is on everyone's lips - and the team manager’s organizational effort is enormous. For example, for the Kitzbühel trip, he has to invest two to three hours, every day. But first of all, back to Treffurt, where despite the final whistle, the day is far from over. A meeting is more than a game. "People also want to meet and have a chat. We allow that, whereas others might leave straight after the match. We like to stay around after the game, enjoying a bratwurst and have a chat with the fans." Günter Breitzke is signing autographs. He’s obviously happy at doing this. As time goes by, the referee's yellow card will become a collector’s item. Günter Kutowski says: "We don’t drive for hours all over Germany just for the 90 minutes on the pitch."
Some things, however, do not change. Some still need taking by the hand even when their professional career is over. When someone asks, where are the showers? The reply comes; “Over there where it is rustling!" In Treffurt this can only be in the basement.
Author: Nils Hotze