Jens Lehmann’s Sport Bild interview: full transcript translation

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Jens Lehmann has been a fixture at London Colney since July when he was handed an assistant coaching role by Arsene Wenger. For the most part, he’s been a relatively low-key figure, sticking to a position in the stands on match days and, the release of an English version of his autobiography aside, staying out of the media spotlight both here and in his native Germany.

Last week, he conducted an interview with Sport Bild going into more detail about his role at Arsenal. In it, he reveals he was the one to initiate contact with the boss about a position at the Emirates, that he’s never had to work so hard or so long and how he’s learning how to be more diplomatic!

Thanks to Arseblog tactics-maestro Lewis Ambrose for translating the entire thing for us.

Enjoy!


 

Mr. Lehmann, you’ve now been one of Arsene Wenger’s assistant coaches at Arsenal for half a year. How did that come about?

I first got in touch with Arsène Wenger, whom I played under for 6 years, in April 2017. I knew he had to change some things at Arsenal, so I spoke to him about it. He listened to my wishes over the phone and said, “I’m interested.” I know him well enough to have known: that’ll do!

Why did you look to get into coaching in England and not in Germany?

I’m very grateful to Arsene Wenger. As a former player it’s not easy to start anywhere today. The trend in Germany is to appoint coaches nobody actually knows because they didn’t play themselves. When that’s how things work, it’s not possible to start as an assistant coach.

How do you see things at Arsenal right now, with an eight-point gap to the Champions League places and the club already out of the FA Cup?

In the FA Cup we gave very young players the chance to show what they can do. Unfortunately the result wasn’t what we expected but we have won the cup three of the last four years. You can’t do that every year. Teams like Spurs or City are now considered great but haven’t won anything in recent seasons. In the league we are indeed behind expectations and need to improve. We’ve also been on the wrong end of far too many refereeing mistakes. We hope that’s compensated before the end of the season.

How intense is your job at Arsenal?

I’ve never worked so long and so hard in my life. One day, at eight in the morning, I arrived to do training with the players who weren’t in the squad. After that I drove to Liverpool for the game. Because we lost, we analysed it for over an hour as soon as we got back. And finally I went to bed.

How has Wenger shaped you (as a coach)?<

At first, I watched training. At some point he came up to me and said: “Jens, I’ve also brought you here to actively coach, as you’ve done before.” Since then I’ve been very involved in training sessions. Sometimes your position makes a difference – I’m no longer in goal, but on the sidelines, so I need to be more diplomatic.

What does your general working day look like?

I get up at 7am and deal with things from my past life, such as answering e-mails etc. Around 8:30 I drive to London Colney, which takes 35 minutes. The 11 members of the coaching staff meet at 9:30 under the instruction of Arsene Wenger. Today before training, at 10:30, I prepared video clips from league games, which the coaching team will discuss after lunch. I usually work at Colney until 16:00 but today will probably be later again.

What are your duties in training?

For example, I oversee one of four groups of six players (which includes the German group). After that a few exercises and finally there is always individual training with different players.

There is a ‘German group’?

Sure. The German-speaking players: Mesut Ozil, Shkodran Mustafi, Sead Kolasinac, Granit Xhaka, Per Mertesacker usually train together (when we are) in the small groups, often with Alexis Sanchez. The boss gives the object and content of the (training) games.

You call Wenger ‘the boss’?

Yes, to me he’s the boss from my time as a player. The others usually call him ‘gaffer’, an English term for the coach I didn’t know before my time in England.

Arsenal will be looked at as a very German club.

Arsenal is more German than ever! There’s still some French influence, though, through Arsene Wenger and other Frenchmen working here. And with players it is often a case of coming and going. For instance, Mesut Ozil doesn’t know if he will stay. But Per Mertesacker will lead the academy from the summer, which will be a big loss for the first team, because he’s very influential as captain. Then we have the chief scout Sven Mislintat, who has arrived from Germany, so the German influence continues to grow.

As a player you were thought of as your own person. What have you had to change to be a coach?

What I needed to improve on for the first few months was being diplomatic. When there’s a lot of staff you need to be careful. As a player being diplomatic was never necessary for me. It was actually a hindrance because it slowed things down.

Does the Bundesliga appeal to you, as a coach?

I don’t feel like an English coach but like a German. The Arsenal staff and team is too international (to feel English). But something I’d definitely take with me is the intensity of the Premier League, the physicality and speed, the training that goes along with that, which is different from in the Bundesliga. Knowing about the differences means the chance to become a coach in the Bundesliga would be very interesting.

How do you see the next step in your coaching career?

Being an assistant is good for me, I can learn the structure, methodology, and implementation of the job from the second row. But, naturally, becoming a manager is the goal. Some things you learn best by doing them yourself.


You can read more of Lewis’ work on Arseblog here.  

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60 Comments on "Jens Lehmann’s Sport Bild interview: full transcript translation"

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Eamonn

“For instance, Mesut Ozil doesn’t know if he will stay”

:-/

twisted cuntloks

Exactly what I picked up on. As I suspected, the ‘Ozil is close to signing’ talk from last week is bollocks. After a good world cup he will speak to some big clubs.

gooner

I thumbed you down because being diplomatic slows things down.

Look at the time I’ve wasted being diplomatic trying to explain.

twisted cuntloks

Here’s me thinking I wasn’t! Lol

twisted cuntloks

Hey not bad going. When I had the temerity last week to say ‘Ozil will be off’ I got about 100 thumbs down!
let’s try and break 100!

gooner

I didn’t even thumb you down. I also believe Ozil will go, sadly.

I just loved that bit from mad Jens so I used it.

twisted cuntloks

No worries I enjoy the banter!
I love Jens, he says it as it is

PeteyB

I wonder if his decision is subject to champions league qualification. It wouldnt be impossible to have the details of an agreement in place but for him to say he’ll only sign on that condition.

Eric Blair

Actually that is a mistranslation. From the original text he says ‘Bei Mesut Özil weiß man ja beispielsweise nicht, ob er bleibt’, which you would translate as ‘For instance, one doesn’t know with Mesut Özil whether he will stay or leave’, it doesn’t mean that Mesut Özil himself doesn’t know. Small difference, but important nonetheless.

Northern Gooner

How do you say clutching at straws in German?

My German is a bit rusty but, in that sentence, where do see the word leave?

I think the translation is spot on.

arseblog
Admin
Eric Blair

Haha! Been revisiting Brass Eye lately, only thing that keeps me sane!

twisted cuntloks

Yes small difference as you say bit staff and players generally know if someone has their heart set on staying

gooner

Still much better than Arshavin’s placenta.

Arshavin\'s Placenta

No it’s not!

A Different George

I guess I always thought you were fluent in Catalan, not German, Eric.

santori

Like I said I think we have a very slim but slightly better chance with Ozil which is why Alexis is sold now (aside from complications to summer transfer)

A lot will have to do with how we finish the season, who we add and most importantly what kind of offers are brought to him.

Eric Blair

Not for the past 80 years 😉

Toure+motors

“Ozil doesn’t know if he will stay” .Good to see your working hard on that diplomacy!!!

TeeCee

This is mad Jens we’re talking about. “Diplomatic” here translates as just the one knee to the nuts and nothing that leaves obvious bruising.

Chilli

It’s actually: “With Mesut, one doesn’t know whether he is going to stay”. It is a bit more diplomatic in Tscherman.

Santi Claws

Lewis Ambrose has been killing it lately

MrBure

So, essentially, Jens called up Wenger (the Great Dictator, ruthless squasher of dissent, man too stubborn to listen to anyone, and obsessed with his own power) to offer his opinion on things we needed to change and Wenger not only listened, he offered Jens a job? Shocking.

Why Not

Hahah yes!

Homer

“(the Great Dictator, ruthless squasher of dissent, man too stubborn to listen to anyone, and obsessed with his own power)”
I realize you couched your comment as a back-handed compliment at the end, so I guess that’s okay.

But if I could thumbs down your comment 1000 times I would. Its fine to be unhappy with the club performances recently. But to spout this BS about a man who has – without a doubt to any sane person – been a huge benefit to the club is bonkers/trolling. By all means criticize the team performances and managerial choices (e.g., AW’s selections are often real head scratchers, and I wonder how motivated the side is and what AW is doing to improve that). But this internet era name calling while we all hide behind fake names is the height of cowardice. You wouldn’t say that to his face; so just ease off the negativity. This ain’t Arsenal Fan TV.

sido

You don’t realize this comment was meant as a reference to all those who call Wenger a dictator, obsessed with power, etc – and shows him offering Lehman a job as an example he isn’t.

Original Paul

Doh! 🙂

A Different George

I think perhaps “the back-hand compliment” was the actual point of his comment.

Rg21

I agree with your sentiment but in this case I think he’s supporting Wenger

David Hillier\'s luggage
David Hillier\'s luggage

I assumed he was taking a shot at those criticising Wenger…

Pedant

Can’t we set it up so that the players know that Lens will shout at them if they lose and they haven’t done their best? I think that would work well as a motivator.

No too pedantic

Not sure they’d give a flying fck about the prospect of some dutch bloke playing in Turkey potentially shouting at them.

Viva la prof

I honestly thought that was the original plan. I didn’t expect him to start singing kumbaya

Jean Ralphio

Being diplomatic is a hindrance -the Jen’s we all know and love. Willing to learn and humble, I hope he is a success

Lula

Watch this space.

Rich

I loved the “how intense is your job?’ question.
Do a training session
Drive to Liverpool and back
Do over an hour analysis.
“I’ve never worked so long and hard in my life’
That’s what most people would call an easy day.

Original Paul

I be happy doing 9.30am – 4pm!

poly

I found it fascinating that they have a German clique that trains together the “often with Alexis Sanchez” statement was quite telling – that he doesn’t really fit into a group at the club. Hector is basically English, Santi injured so there might not be a “Spanish” group

David Hillier\'s luggage
David Hillier\'s luggage

By all accounts I don’t think he ever fitted into the Spanish speaking group either

dawn

Nacho is Spanish.

poly

Nacho is Basque, but that’s not the point. Alexis doesn’t speak German so it’s rather odd that he would have been grouped with the German players.

Santi\'s Sonnet

Nacho is Navarese not Basque, the region next door.

Regardless he and Bellerin speak Spanish perfectly and you are right, it says something about the man that he never got close to them at the club.

Alexit

From one side of seeing your comment, it makes sense, but from the other thousands side of seeing, that was just a misinterpretation of what Jens was telling. That doesn’t tell the whole story. We have pictures from the training ground.

A Different George

My guess–only a guess–is that the club wanted Alexis and Ozil to train together.

Northern Gooner

Due to the accent, the type of Spanish spoken in Chile is quite difficult to understand and it’s littered with slang. When Sanchez arrived at barca, Victor Valdez (GK) famously said that he didn’t understand a word Sanchez said.

I find it more fascinating and surprising that there is a clique at all, never mind 4!

I know the current narrative is to paint Alexis Sanchez as this obnoxious manchild that everyone hated but it’s getting ridiculous now.

Godfrey Twatsloch

Sanchez is gone. He doesn’t matter anymore.

Sarson vinegar’s frightening Sarnie
Sarson vinegar’s frightening Sarnie

“I’ve never worked so hard…
I’m in by 08:30….
Finish at 16:00…”

Fuck
My
Life

Mad_Jens

If rumours are to be believed, his diplomacy was once well tested by Alexis…

SB Still

Off topic:

I’d made my peace with Sanchez leaving to ManU based on PEA and Mkhi (I’ll learn to spell their names properly when they are announced) coming in. On balance those are similar replacements for Sanchez and Walcott (Sanchez of last season).

However its still going to hurt when Sanchez’s pic in the ManU colours. Not only are we loosing the most attacking player in the squad but also because we are again loosing our star player.

After the austerity period we are now able to buy/afford star players. We have a wage bill in the top 4. However we are not able to retain our stars just like austerity period!

Wenger saying he is surprised that anyone wants to leave Arsenal and that ManU pulling out of Sanchez shows we can’t compete seems made up.

ManC needed Sanchez more at the start of the season but with such a lead in the league table ManU want him more! We are 6th in the league, it will and are far away even from the proverbial 4th placed trophy.

Hope we sign PEA, get Mkhi firing again, extend Ozil, come up with a cohesive onfield tactic. We desperately need to have a much better 2nd half of the season.

Alexit

Let’s hope Alexi($)($)anchez loses his form there under Jose Boringho.

arsepedant

Moronho is the manager where great players go to die. He will stifle $anchez into obscurity.

Rg21

Jens is a legend

santori

Germans.

Arsene himself is from Alsace.

I mentioned this some years back that I believe Wenger also considers the nationality/composition of players when adding. In a sense its to ensure they bed in well and feel comfortable.

Example the German group but also there is an Islamic group in Ozil, Elneny, Mustafi, Granit

The actual Gallic group that the media like to harp on about is actually very small and shrinking. Coquelin’s departure leaves Giroud (who may also leave), Koscielny, Debuchy (on periphery). I expect the Jeff (who is looking excellent in U23s) may compensate somewhat and of course we added Lacazette recently. To some extent if Aubameyang is added the Gabonese is also Francophile (and German so to speak since his time in Deutschland)

The British core (Wenger’s little Britain experiment) is less highlighted by the media who conveniently ignore it. We probably have more or equal Biritish players than most of the top tier rivals in the league – Jack, Welbeck, Nelson, Ramsey, AMN, Holding, Chambers,Macey. Out of a squad of 24-25, that’s close to one third.

There’s also the home made sub group which again the press do not wish to highlight. We have the orginal product in Jack but also joined by Bellerin, Iwobi, AMN, Nelson (soon possibly the Jeff). That’s four in the senior squad (five if you add Macey)

Spaniards stay fairly much the same with Monreal, Bellerin and the as yet to return Santi Carzola.

South Americans are now a rare commodity with just Ospina really flying the flag now that Alexis is likely out of the door.

We have possibly three Africans in Elneny, Iwobi and maybe Aubameyang.

Also of note players from the Balkans two of which are Albanian in roots in Granit and Mustafi. The third Balkan player is of course Kolasinac.

Its an interesting mix which I’m sure is predicated firstly by footballing ability and availability but you feel that Wenger also considers these social seconds somewhere in the back ground when picking players.

santori

Hopefully we do some deals soon.

As much as I do not feel these impending deals serve our interest best, the alternative of having no reinforcements is far worse.

Shank

Type of character we need in coaching here.
Just saw an article about RVP, apparently returning to Feyenoord.
I cant believe if anyone gives a flying……

arsepedant

That’s Feyenoord’s problem, not ours.

ResoluteGunner

“I’ve never worked so long and so hard in my life”

Arrives at London Colney at 9:00am

Leaves by 4:00pm

Ok.

santori

Wenger hasn’t found a Carlos Quieroz the way Sir Fergie did. He isn’t as pragmatic.

Podgygooner

Having a German “group” and no doubt French and English groups worries me, to cliquey and can only create divisions in the squad. Aside from that my only prayer to Jens is to teach Petr how to save penalties!