“I want to play for titles again.”


By Peter Vice

Recruited by top German football administrator Ralf Rangnick to coach Lokomotiv Moscow over the international break, former Hoffenheim, HSV, and 1. FC Köln trainer Markus Gisdol spoke to Germany’s preeminent footballing publication for the Thursday print edition of Kicker Magazine. 

The 52-year-old gaffer expressed the hope that his new charge would afford him better opportunities than his Bundesliga appointments. 

Markus Gisdol.

Working the sidelines for three separate Bundesliga clubs, Markus Gisdol has never had a chance to experience what it feels like to be a winning trainer. In 18 months in charge of TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, the Geisling-native won just 36 percent of his fixtures and averaged just 1.34 points per game.

The time spent at the helm of the club where he once coached the youth ranks would actually prove his most successful. At Hamburger SV, he won just 30 percent of his matches and averaged 1.12 points per game. Then came his third 18-month-stint in the Bundesliga with 1. FC Köln. Injuries hampered his tenure in the cathedral city. Gisdol won only 28 percent of his games and averaged 1.07 points per match.

“At Hoffenheim, HSV, and Köln, I was brought in as rescuer, to put out fires,” Gisdol told Kicker in an interview for the Thursday print edition, “But, before that, I always had teams with whom I won more games than I lost. I want to do that again at Loko. We want to play for titles.”

Ralf Rangnick, one of Germany’s most respected footballing administrators, has given Gisdol that opportunity in the Russian Premiership. Gisdol made clear that he appreciated the chance granted to him by an old colleague.

“I find the overall construct [of Lokomotiv] very appealing,” Gisdol noted in the interview, “Plus there’s the familiarity with Ralf that has existed for several years. For me, it’s like returning to my roots. When a club is given a new and modern direction and a completely new philosophy is installed, it’s exciting to be there.”

It was actually Rangnick who plucked Gisdol from SSV Ulm 1846 to coach the Hoffenheim reserves in the summer of 2009. The boss who kick started Gisdol’s coaching career now has accorded him a chance to revive it.

“Ralf has proven that he can build at Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig.” Gisdol noted.

Asked about his acclimatization process in the Russian capital, Gisdol noted that he planned on contacting fellow German expat Sandro Schwarz. The former Mainz trainer has been in charge of cross-town rival Dynamo Moscow since last October.

“I’ve already got Sandro’s number and I plan to give him a call soon,” Gisdol noted, “an exchange like that never hurts.”

When it comes to how long Gisdol will be working together with Rangnick at the state-club of the Russian Railroad, there exist (as always) a storm of rumors surrounding the Rangnick’s next potential destination.

Lokomotiv’s current head of sport and development has a rather full slate of commitments at the moment. The 63-year-old Rangnick has been doing some punditry work for German broadcaster DAZN in addition to his administrative duties with the Russian club.

Of course, that didn’t stop Rangnick from being linked with all manner of positions at Newcastle United after last week’s takeover.

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