Hashemian Interview with Spox.com (German sport website)

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    Hashemian Interview with Spox.com (German sport website)

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    automatic Englisch translation:

    Part 1:

    Vahid, your fondness for football was once discovered on the streets of Tehran. How did that go down?

    Vahid Hashemian: We just played a lot on the street. During the school holidays I also regularly went to different football schools. There we played on grass pitches, which of course was a completely different feeling.

    What was the significance of football in your hometown at that time?

    Hashemian: There are some sports in Iran where the country regularly wins awards, such as wrestling or Taekwondo. But the favorite sport of the people is still football, people are crazy about it. When a big derby is coming up, the streets are like empty because everybody watches this game.

    In your childhood, was there a club that you particularly adored?

    Hashemian: My favorite teams in the past were actually Argentina and Germany. When the two nations played against each other in the 1990 World Cup final, it was very difficult for me. At that time it was not easy to watch matches in front of the TV, but I can still remember that match very well.

    Which footballers did you look up to as a child or teenager?

    Hashemian: Diego Maradona used to be my favorite player. I also liked Lothar Matthäus, Marco van Basten and Gary Lineker.

    When did you first play in a club yourself?

    Hashemian: I first took part in an organized football tournament when I was 15 or 16 years old - in five-on-five mode. After that a man approached me and asked if I would like to play in a club. He then invited me to train with an Iranian U17 team. That's how my club career started with Fath Tehran.

    In summer 1999 you came to Germany. How big was the change?

    Hashemian: I was used to a very familiar life from Iran, then I moved to Germany all by myself - to a new country with a new culture and a new language. I needed some time to get used to it. But that is probably quite normal.

    Were there any unpleasant experiences in the beginning?

    Hashemian: Sporty I had some bad luck in the beginning. In the training camp with HSV I broke my nose and a pulled stomach muscle put me out of action for six months. That made it even harder to start.

    What about your language skills?

    Hashemian: The German language was very difficult to learn. There are no articles in our language, so I sat there at that time and just thought: Phew, articles. While learning German I quickly went crazy. But I tried to make progress by communicating with the other players.

    What memories do you have of your first training session in Hamburg?

    Hashemian: I still remember that we trained on the old training ground in Norderstedt. I don't remember exactly what the main focus of training was, but header training was definitely part of it.

    Which brings us to your nickname: Why helicopters?

    Hashemian: I could already jump and head well in Iran. At HSV Frank Pagelsdorf always praised me for my ability to jump from a standing position during the header training. He said I was like a helicopter. Hence the nickname.

    You played together with Niko Kovac. What made him stand out?

    Hashemian: Niko came to HSV from Leverkusen exactly at the time when I moved to Hamburg. He was a gentleman with a very self-confident manner. He was also incredibly clever. He could read and steer the game.

    What was the greatest lesson you learned at HSV?

    Hashemian: The whole time at HSV was a learning process for me. There I got to know the German culture, the German language and German football. Hamburg played an important role in my development. But the then president of VfL Bochum, Werner Altegoer, convinced me to sign there.

    After only 17 compulsory matches and one goal in two years with HSV, you established yourself as a Bundesliga player in Bochum.

    Hashemian: In my early days we weren't exactly successful under coach Bernhard Dietz. Then came Peter Neururer, under whom I became a regular player.

    What made him special?

    Hashemian: Sometimes you need a coach who is not only technically good but also human. Peter always supported me and motivated me excellently. Players are not machines. Everyone needs someone who has a feeling for certain situations. And he had that feeling.

    In what way did that manifest itself?

    Hashemian: An anecdote: As I said, I was a regular player and therefore sure to be in the starting eleven in the next game. But then I sat on the bench and was disappointed and angry. In the next training session I hardly ran, had no motivation. Then he sent me into the box. On the way home I already wondered what the consequences would be.

    How did it go on?

    Hashemian: In the next training I was the first one on the spot and Peter ordered me into the trainer's cabin. I was worried about being suspended, but Peter just told me that my behaviour hadn't been okay and that I should train now. I knew myself that I had done everything wrong. I learned from that.

    After scoring 16 goals in 32 Bundesliga games for VfL, you switched to FC Bayern in summer 2005. How did that come about?

    Hashemian: I had several offers at that time, including from Schalke and from abroad. But when the offer from FC Bayern came, I knew what to do. Already when I came to Germany, it was my dream to play for FC Bayern. In such a club there was and is almost always a world team on the pitch.

    How did you perceive coach Felix Magath?

    Hashemian: He used to be a great player and then a successful coach with a special character. He also wanted to bring me to Stuttgart before I went to Munich.

    Vahid Hashemian about Felix Magath: "I wasn't afraid of him, but of his training sessions".

    Which four-eye-conversation with Magath did you especially remember?

    Hashemian: Magath was someone who talked little with the players but put more emphasis on training. If it was up to him, the players had to go to the limit and sometimes even beyond. You were not allowed to have a barrier in your head.

    How do you rate his training methodology?

    Hashemian: His methods were very hard. Accordingly, I was quite fit in that one year with FC Bayern. I didn't play much in the club, but at that time I scored the most important goals of my career for the Iranian national team. That was no coincidence.

    What made his units stand out?

    Hashemian: Besides the footballing aspects like test matches we worked a lot with medicine balls. He also did extraordinary things with us like mountain hikes.

    Were the players afraid of Magath?

    Hashemian: I wasn't afraid of him, but of his training sessions (laughs). Seriously: I never saw him freaking out or being restless.

    Looking back, how do you rate your time at FC Bayern?

    Hashemian: I am very proud that I was with FC Bayern. And I worked there with good people. I always say: You have to try it. You win or lose, but if you don't try, you lose.

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