BV Borussia Dortmund coach Matthias Sammer is thinking only of the UEFA Cup final.
What a week it has been for 34-year-old Matthias Sammer.
Keen to concentrate
His BV Borussia Dortmund team clinched the 1. Bundesliga title in dramatic fashion on Saturday with a 2-1 win over SV Werder Bremen and are now preparing for the UEFA Cup final. The German squad arrived in Rotterdam on a high but, speaking the day before the final, Sammer was keen to concentrate on the task ahead rather than discuss the success already gained.
'In a transition'
"We are in a transition," he said. "We have won the title but it has passed now and we have to move on. I don't know if the players will ever have this opportunity again. This is unique and we should be aware of this."
Standing in the way of a Dortmund double triumph are a Feyenoord team who have already eliminated the likes of Rangers FC, PSV Eindhoven and Internazionale FC. "It will not be easy because Feyenoord have a very good team," Sammer acknowledged. "But I think we are well prepared."
That would be difficult to argue against. Sammer has managed to combine South American flair with young German talent into a lineup strong in defence and stunning in attack. It is a potent combination spiced up by a couple of Czech matchwinners in Tomáš Rosicky and Jan Koller.
'We don't worry'
He has refused to let the fact that the game will be played in Feyenoord’s own stadium be considered as a negative for his team. "We have known for some time where we are going to play. We don't worry whether we are favourite or not, we just have to play to win."
Sammer was keen to play down his involvement in a magnificent season, despite guiding the team to their first title in six years. "I don't think that the coach is the essential element, the player is," he said. "Of course there will be differences in the way you deal with players and how you evaluate them but I don't believe you need to establish complex theories."
The youngest coach to win the German title has in fact proved adept at handling a team full of stars. One such player that Sammer has brought the best out of is target man Marcio Amoroso. The Brazilian striker "has his own way of thinking", according to his coach. But there is mutal respect at play and credit must be given to Sammer for instilling consistency into the creative striker's game.
Can cope with pressure
He has established himself as a quick-witted coach able to think on his feet in pressure-filled situations. Witness the substitution last Saturday that saw 20-year-old rising star Ewerthon enter the fray with the score at 1-1 against Bremen and Dortmund needing a win to fend off the title challenge of Bayer 04 Leverkusen. The Brazilian had hardly been on the pitch a minute when he struck the goal that proved to be the most decisive of all the freescoring German club had hit all season.
Romantic at heart
Sammer is also a romantic when it comes to management. He is aware that this will be former international defender Jürgen Kohler's last match and, after giving him six minutes against Bremen for his last Bundesliga appearance, will now try to give him a final bow on the European stage.
Just the start
"I think his career has been a fairytale, if you consider the success he has had," Sammer said. "I just hope we find a good way to end his fairytale." For Sammer the coach, the fairytale is only just beginning.